The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Campanile

The Campanile

The Campanile

Bike cage security, camera quality need improvement to prevent theft


As I hurried to school, sweat beaded down my forehead. I quickly parked my bike in the  cage, realizing I only had one minute before first period. In my rush, I left my bike unlocked, hoping to lock it later at brunch.

That afternoon, I had a tennis game and was being driven there by mom, completely forgetting about my bike in the cage. The next morning, I was dropped off at school. I intended to bike back home. But when I looked into the cage, my heart sank — my bike was gone.

I frantically searched the area, but it was nowhere to be found. I couldn’t believe someone had taken my bike. I was devastated, unsure of what to do next. How was I going to get home? And what if I never saw my bike again? These thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there, feeling helpless and frustrated. Even though I admit this was my fault, many bikes get stolen each week, and Paly must invest in more security for our bike cages. For example, we should have some sort of closing door at night, so that people can’t lurk around cages late at night to steal bikes forgotten at school. The ideal security system would make it so you’d have to have an ID card to open the gate on all bike cages.

When I asked an administrator to check the footage to see what happened to my bike, the blurry security footage showed a man in the middle of the night who prance in and out of the cage with my bike. The administrator told me nothing could be done to catch this man and that he often comes at night to check the cages for potential bikes to steal. I was so desperate to get my bike back that my dad and I constantly checked online marketplaces to see if the thief would sell my bike there. Another friend of mine, who’s bike had been stolen in middle school, got his bike back by buying it back from the thief. 

Even if my bike had been locked, I only had a worn down cable lock which I had been using since at least the start of middle school. The administrator told me that even if I had used my measly cable lock, the thief would have simply cut it with a wire cutter. One of the best steps students can take is getting a U-lock: one of those tough metal locks with a passcode. Impossible to cut. I also believe that the admins should help us come up with some sort of more secure bike cage. Perhaps they could use some funds to help improve the autonomous system (cameras) and help our campus be more secure from theft.

Additionally, the footage on the security camera footage was so blurry that it was impossible to identify the thief. As far back as middle school, the teachers who led orientation told us to never trust the camera at the bike cage because, if someone stole it, the thief would be unrecognizable. Why can’t PAUSD invest in some sort of security system which can detect and deter thieves when they steal our bikes?

Bike thefts are commonplace in Palo Alto, so you would think Paly would invest in higher quality cameras, motion sensing lights or perhaps some use of school ID’s to open the gates to the cage. Additionally, if Paly were to take these steps, they could easily catch the thieves who aim to steal our bikes.

Paly  is not doing anything to counter the campus and community bike theft problem. The leaders of our school must help make our campus more secure from thefts. We should have higher security standards around our bike cages in order to help prevent theft and keep bikes from being stolen. We need to implement higher quality cameras as a first step and perhaps, take the methods used by UC Berkeley to further protect our bikes.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Neel Sharma, Sports Editor
Donate to The Campanile

Comments (0)

All The Campanile Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *