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Behaviour in case of theft

General Information on theft

Lately, people working or studying at TU Ilmenau have been losing their things in the office and classrooms as well as bicycles parked outside the building. This page will give you info on how you should behave in case of theft and also how to best prevent this from happening.

Prevention against theft and what to do in case of theft

What should I do if the culprit is in my office?

Before burglary occurs:

Do remember that a burglar will try to find all the weak points of a building. He/She does not want to be seen and wants to quickly get away from the crime scene without being seen. An unlocked door, window (also a tilted window) increases the chances of a burglary to occur. Also, uncontrolled toilets, backyard or hallway can be a perfect location for theft. Therefore, you should check these places and close the doors and windows. Please use curtains or other coverings in public buildings to make it hard for other people to look inside the rooms from outside. Don't leave valuable belongings like laptops unattended.

As the saying goes, "Opportunity makes the thief!"

If upon entering your home or other premises, you notice some suspicious details (damaged door lock, glass splinters, etc), it would be best to assume that someone has broken into your home. You need to leave the crime scene as quickly as possible and call the police in order to put yourself out of harm's way and block the thieves' escape route. Think about the fact that the burglar does not want to be discovered; He/She wants no confrontation!
You should never confront the burglar yourself and play the hero – this may not work out. Instead, the police should be given a good description of the perpetrator, vehicle and his/her direction of escape.

There is no ideal way to behave in conflict situations. In priciple, one should always try to overcome the situation without the use of violence. Violence begets violence. Do not reach for a knife or stun gun – the better option would be the pepper spray. This would be enough to defend oneself against physical attacks.

Tips when the offender is aggrevated and takes a hostage:

  1. Try to overcome the shock. Stay (or appear) calm, authentic and confident.
  2. Better to have a little more superiority before you do anything, no dangerous resistance. Try to stall for time.
  3. Do absolutely everything to calm the perpetrators and hostages.
  4. Follow all instructions that are given under gunpoint without question. Life and health are the main priorities.
  5. If you are not in immediate danger, quickly trigger the silent alarm or call the police (or anyone at all). A loud alarm can be dangerous, therefore, it should be triggered only if there are no lives at stake.

What should you do when the attack is over:

  1. Are there any injuries? If yes, call for help (doctor or ambulance).
  2. Alert the police.
  3. Do not touch anything and leave the crime scene – the police will search for evidence and tracks!
  4. Record observations:
  • Time
  • Physical descriptions:
    • male, female, height, size, hair colour, hairstyle, beard, glasses, dialect, earrings, piercings, tattoos, odour/scent
  • Clothes:
    • pants, skirt, shirt, blouse, jacket, colour, shoes, bags
  • Type, colour, license plate of vehicle

Theft involving bicycles and motorcycles

FBicycles, motorcycles, scooters and mopeds are common targets of theft especially since they are becoming more and more popular. Not only the vehicles themselves, but also their parts or even high quality accesories are stolen. Crime scenes are often large parking lots at schools, universities, railway stations, sports and leisure facilities, basically places where you can only lock them instead of having them stored inside a secure room (e.g. garage).

Here are some tips to best prevent theft:

Tip 1: Lock your vehicle!

Always lock your bike to a fixed object with an appropriate bike lock – also in bike garages. Remember: bicycle locks should never be easily "cracked" or opened using simple tools such as pliers or side cutters. The better alternatives are massive steel chains, iron or armored cable locks. Simply locking the front and/or rear wheel is not enough.

Tip 2: Take the tools out of the saddle or tool bag!

Tip 3: Determine frame number!

Determine or write down the frame number. If there isn't any, mark an individual number using a machine or simply a hammer.

The frame number can be found:

  1. on the handlebar or
  2. on the frame seat, below the saddle (left or right) or
  3. on the luggage carrier plate or
  4. on the underside of the bottom bracket
  5. on the frame seat tube above the bottom bracket (front or rear) or
  6. on the fork end
  7. on the frame seat tube above the bottom bracket (front or rear).


Caution: On some bicycles – especially from the mail order and department store – the order, item or part numbers are not assigned individually and are therefore unsuitable for police records of stolen property.

Tip 4: Fill out bike pass and hold on to purchase receipts!

Many sellers give bike passes to buyers when they purchase a bike. But beware: the bike pass is useful for investigation, but it does not constitute proof of ownership.

Note: In addition to bike passes, the police also give out stickers that say, "Stay away – my bike is coded". Additional information can be found in the brochure Guter Rat ist nicht teuer. Und der Verlust Ihres Rades? (Good advice is not expensive, but the loss of your bike?)

Tip 5: Save a colour photo of your bike!

This can be important for investigation and (in addition to the purchase receipt) for insurance purposes.

Tip 6: Personal identification!

Your bike does not have a bike or custom tag? Then tag them yourself or let the retailers mark the wheels of your bike. We recommend having an additional bicycle coding. Even if the wheel is not recorded in the database, the code will give the residential address of the owner.

By the way:
Many traders, bike clubs, other institutions and police departments offer these encodings. Alternatively, your tag can have its own characteristics such as license plate number, your date of birth, name initials, etc. Bike shops offer now electronic marking which uses a chip that is placed in the bike frame. This chip contains data of the wheel and owner.

Tip 7: Secure every part of the bike!

Do not forget to secure your bike parts!
To fix the saddle, front and rear wheel, the standard quick release can be replaced, for example, by those with coded fittings.

Tip 8: Demand proof of ownership!

When you're buying a second-hand bike or admission-free motorcycles, always demand the seller proof of ownership and also take down their personal data and ID number.