Number of Ames bike thefts, other crimes increasing with warmer weather

As temperatures in Ames  and across all of central Iowa continue to increase, criminals are taking advantage of convenient circumstances.

According to Ames Police Commander Jason Tuttle, reports of stolen bicycles and other items are becoming more and more prevalent this spring. “As the weather warms up, we see more of the thefts with people who have their bikes left out, either leaning against the house or in their front yard,” he noted.

In addition to the changing of seasons, Tuttle also acknowledged that pandemic-related circumstances could be fueling these types of crimes. “What we are hearing is that bike parts are hard to get right now,” he said. “Even new bikes are limited, and so we’re wondering if we won’t see even more bikes being stolen and being sold in nefarious ways.”

Iowa State University students are often targets for types of crimes such as these. With many young people living in Ames without an automobile, public transit and bicycles are sometimes primary means of transportation. And criminals are aware of exactly that.

Although personal convenience may have to be sacrificed in order to protect ones’ belongings, especially this time of year, Tuttle made it clear that the adjustment is worth it. “The best thing is to secure the bike with some type of locking mechanism, but we have also seen where [criminals] cut those,” he admitted. “If its locked inside the house or inside the garage, that’s certainly a good option.”

At the least, bike owners should use a lock, such as the one pictured above, to guard against theft. However, Ames authorities recommend locals store their bicycles indoors if at all possible.

Certainly ISU students are not the only ones at risk for thefts or burglaries. Anyone and everyone should be extra cautious, including when you are planning some type of travel. “With vacation season, too, and people leaving their house, it’s good to let a neighbor know you’re going to be gone,” Tuttle said. “Keep your curtains and blinds closed so that people can’t see in. Keep anything of value away from windows. Make sure that newspapers don’t stack up.”

Many locals yearn for this time of year. And even though the flux in weather can make conditions more conducive for outdoor activities, throwing caution to the wind can result in a significant loss. “Some of those small things can often prevent bigger things from happening,” Tuttle concluded. Therefore, be proactive in your thinking. Hope for the best, and plan for the worst.

And, of course, enjoy the warmer weather.

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