Well, it’s the third week of school already, and we are getting a bunch of thefts reported to us. Bikes and laptops are being taken by some pretty unscrupulous crooks. Like there are scrupulous crooks? I really don’t believe it’s Robin Hood out there ripping off the apartments. I would like to think that some guy in green tights and a pointy hat with a feather would stand out on Del Playa Drive. But then again, it is Del Playa…

Most of the thefts in Isla Vista have been from apartments left unlocked. Crooks simply go from door to door looking for the unlocked apartment with no one there. They go in, snag a laptop or purse and disappear faster than a chicken at a KFC convention. So what can you do to stop them? The simple tip is to lock your apartments. It’s a pain with all of the roommates, but so is rewriting a term paper on Lewis Little’s “Theory of Elementary Waves”. As fun as that is – and I should know after spending many hours after a shift hanging out with the other officers arguing about quantum physics – the simple act of locking your doors could help keep your property safe.

As for bikes, lock them to something solid like a bike rack. A lot of stolen bikes are taken because the lock only goes through the frame and tire. Easy to pick up and walk off with. Which leads me to the first question…

Why did the CSOs steal my bike? What crime did it commit?

Although I personally can’t vouch for the honesty and integrity of your Huffy, it’s probably innocent of any crime other than just being in the wrong place. Part of the CSOs’ duties are to keep the campus clear of randomly placed bikes. Campus rules require bikes to be kept in the bike racks. Bikes that are parked at random spots, such as handicap ramps, hallways and lower branches of sycamore trees, or are locked to mimes in Storke Plaza, may be impounded. Why? Although your bike by itself can probably be walked around, soon others will also park next to you and then we have bikes blocking the handicap access ramps and walkways. To prevent this, everyone needs to park their bikes in the racks.

Now, we realize that there is a lack of space in many bike racks. We need to be fair, and the CSOs do a pretty good job of this. A lot of people like to talk about how the CSOs impounded a bike, but no one ever talks about the great (but underused) escort program they offer to anyone who needs an escort on campus or in the I.V. area, or about the number of stolen bikes they recover every year and get return to their proper owners. You can’t see it, but I just stood up and saluted them. OK, that’s enough exercise for today…

Is a “pissing in public” ticket really going to cost me $700?

Now, if you had asked me that a year ago, I would have said that it would. But last year, a new county ordinance was created to specifically target the expulsion of human bodily fluids in an area deemed accessible to the general public via access or view. Or, as we humans like to call it, taking a whiz in front of God and everybody. The County Board of Supervisors realized that the students were getting hit with $700 tickets and the court was not allowed to reduce the fine. So, in order to be fair, the Board created the local ordinance that lowered the fine to $100 for the first offense. Much easier to take unless, of course, you’re standing downwind.

So, until next week, enjoy life, have fun, and be safe.

Ticked off by a ticket? Party popped by the Patrol? If you’ve got questions, don’t let them eat away at you. Ask questions. Call or e-mail me anytime. Mark.Signa@police.ucsb.edu or the Crime Prevention Office at 893-4063.