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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
The Observer

Students, NDPD discuss scooter theft

For sophomore Zach Brown, having a few friends over in his dorm one night last spring ended with a rather upsetting surprise: his electric scooter, which he had stored outside of his room to make space for his friends, had been stolen.

“I put it out there probably around 8 p.m. and then I knew it was there until about probably two in the morning,” Brown said. “Whenever I woke up, at like 9 a.m., it was gone without a trace.”

Sophomore Liam Redmond, a first-year Gateway student at Holy Cross, also reported having his scooter stolen. One Saturday morning last fall, the night of a Notre Dame football game, he left his Ninebot Scooter in a friend’s car in the Holy Cross student parking lot. 

“[I] went back Sunday morning to open the truck and get it and it was missing. And, it appeared as though the car had been rummaged through,” he said. “We cannot remember if it was like, a locked and somebody broke in-situation, or if it was unlocked and somebody opened the trunk itself, but it was clearly stolen.”

Redmond’s scooter was stolen in the 2021 Fall semester before Notre Dame implemented its E-Scooter registration initiative to help prevent scooter thefts, and Brown had not yet registered his scooter at the time his scooter was stolen. Both reported their scooters being stolen to the Notre Dame Police Department (NDPD), but neither Redmond nor Brown was ever contacted about their scooters being found.

Increasing scooter thefts on campus

Kris Hinton, who works in the investigations department at NDPD, said that this school year, as more students are buying scooters to use rather than riding bikes or skateboards, there has been an uptick in scooter thefts reported to NDPD. 

Recently, Hinton said NDPD has received reports of about 10 to 15 scooters a month being stolen. Additionally, the electric scooters on campus look so similar to each other that students often mistake another student’s scooter for their own.

“What happens is that when someone purchases a scooter, they may not take any photos of it, they may not put any stickers on it, they may not write down the serial number of it,” Hinton said. “And that would really help us with identifying it because with some of the scooters that have been reported as missing or as a theft, they’re more likely on campus somewhere, but we don’t have that information to help us distinguish it from one Gotrax to another.”

Hinton said that identifiable stickers are very helpful for NDPD to locate students’ lost scooters.

“We’ve had some incidents in the past where some students have put some special stickers, either somewhere they’ve been, or a place, or a name… we’ve actually been able to use that particular sticker or accessory they put on it to help identify it,” he said.

The best ways for students to keep their scooters safe, Hinton said, are to register their scooters with NDPD and to use a lock.

“Take the time to register. If you don’t want to come to the police department, you can do it online,” Hinton said. “If you register it, we have all the information we need. That would help deter a lot of this from happening.”

After having his own scooter stolen, Brown also had advice to share with other scooter owners on campus.

“Once it’s gone, there’s really nothing you can do,” Brown said. “Whatever it takes to invest in [your scooter’s security], like a good lock or an AirTag to track it, which I know a couple of friends of mine have done, those are 100% worth it.”