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Motorcycles at risk for theft

By Machiko Yasuda

May 14, 2008 11:21 pm

Over the past month, university police have received notice of five motorcycle thefts from on-campus parking structures.

Motorcycles are especially at risk because they are small and easy to lift, but still expensive.

Thieves often roll motorcycles out of outdoor and indoor campus parking lots and load them into trucks and vans, according to the UCPD report.

UCLA Parking Services offers motorcycle and scooter drivers free parking in designated areas in 23 of their parking lots on campus, but these are typically open-air areas, which means the risk of vandalism and theft is higher.

“A parking space is about $170 a quarter, but if someone steals one part off your bike, that’s $200 bucks, and even worse, an entire bike can be close to $6,000,” said Jon Hsiung, a UCLA alumnus and former member of the Bruin Motorcycle Association.

Only one lot, located outside of Ackerman Turnaround, has small hooks in the ground that allow riders to secure their vehicles, Hsiung said.

Bruin Motorcycle Association has requested more video cameras and hooks from Parking Services.

In response to their concerns, UCLA Transportation has installed additional lock-down bars for bikes in Lot 2 and across from the law school, said university spokesman Phil Hampton.

Parking bikes off campus may not be any safer. Tony Li, a UCLA alumnus, said he had two bikes stolen from his Westwood apartment during his time at the university.

UCPD recommends parking inside garages outside of plain view, but even indoor parking can be risky without proper locks and other security precautions.

Vincent Ying, a third-year computer science and engineering student, had his vehicle stolen from the Sunset Village parking lot last month.

He said he believes these kinds of thefts are common on college campuses and no matter what security precautions are taken, thieves can be determined.

Ying recommended investing in motorcycle insurance, which he said can be very expensive but worthwhile.

Other riders, like Hsiung, invest in a LoJack tracking system and a motion sensor alarm, but these options can be pricey as well.

“A lot of these people love to ride, and it’s a great feeling,” Hsiung said. “It’s just that it comes with all of these liabilities.”

University police recommend that observers report any suspicious vans or large trucks idling around motorcycle lots on campus to UCPD.

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Machiko Yasuda
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