Security no longer has to spin its wheels about what to do with unclaimed bikes. Bikes are the most commonly stolen items on campus, and Security recovers dozens of them each semester. 
Security has implemented effective procedures to help owners retrieve their bikes.

 “Everything from emails, phone calls, Digest postings, that sort of thing—we do everything we possibly can to match the owner up with the bike,” said Director of Safety and Security Randall Nichols. “We check our databases, we check our stolen bike reports, we check our lost property reports. Many of the bikes we are able to get back to the owners.” 

 Registering bikes on Security’s website makes the process of linking owners to their bikes significantly easier. Registration is free of charge and students are given a blue decal and a unique number that identifies their bike. 

The bike is then entered into Security’s database, so that both Bowdoin and off-campus agencies—like the Brunswick Police Department—can identify its owner if it is recovered. 
Without registration, the process of matching bikes to owners is far more complicated.
“When the bike is not registered, it becomes very difficult because [when] we take it in we have no way of identifying who it belongs to, and the person who owns the bike often has a difficult time,” said Nichols. “It may not be easy for them to prove that they own the bike.” 

 To reduce bike theft on campus, Security collects and stores bikes left out during academic breaks.

 “If it’s registered, then we will let the owner know we have it and they can pick it up when they get back,” said Nichols. “If it’s not registered then we hope the owner will contact us. Often, we take students to our bike storage room and have them go through the bikes and see if they can find theirs.” 

 Nichols said that the Bowdoin community is vigilant about bike theft. There have been several occasions when people have been caught in the act of stealing a bike. 

 “We had one of our officers interrupt a bike theft in progress and actually run down the person on the bike. He was able to prevent the bike from leaving campus and the person was charged with theft,” said Nichols.

There are currently around 60 bikes in the bike warehouse, 40 of which are being donated to Northeast Goodwill Industries—the central warehouse that distributes the bikes to various Goodwill stores in the region. 

 “We used to deal with several organizations, [but] as we distributed the bikes, that became a little bit cumbersome,” said Nichols.  “It became a lot of work to do that much handling of the bikes, as well as a lot of administrative time.”