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Gone in an Instant: The Snatching of Electric Scooters on Campus


On a cloudy afternoon, I experienced an unfortunate incident that highlighted the issue of electric scooter theft. According to Public Safety in the beginning of the 2023 Fall semester, “Currently, there are 37 scooters that have been reported stolen. Roughly five of those were registered with Public Safety.” The incident occurred when I returned to the scooter parking area after an hour at the pool. To my surprise and dismay, my electric scooter, which I had diligently secured through the mobile app, was nowhere to be found. The sinking feeling that enveloped me at the moment underscored the harsh reality—I had become another statistic in the growing problem of electric scooter theft.


Though Stetson’s campus is smaller than most state schools, a popular form of travel is electric scooters. Campus size does not deter electric scooters as a means of transportation. In comparison, the University of Central Florida consists of 1,415 acres, while Stetson University has approximately 185 acres. Electric scooters are one of three types of vehicles you must register with Stetson University; PSAFE provides a unique code to match students with their scooters on campus. Electric scooters have been a rising contender for on-campus transportation since their introduction, as many students find that they make commuting through campus easier. 


As a precaution, Stetson has implemented taped squares with laminated signs for scooter parking. In comparison, bicycle parking consists of bike racks with limited space. Not every building on campus has a designated area for scooter parking, so students often leave their scooters near building entrances or utilize bike racks. Due to the limited emphasis on proper scooter parking, students have resorted to parking their electric vehicles in various locations. Some individuals may not be taking sufficient precautions, relying on factors like an invented sense of security and people’s trust in general. This behavior can be observed among various modes of transportation and different groups of people.


Cooper Rodenburg ’25 shared their experience witnessing the aftermath of an electric scooter theft, mainly how the two students decided to move forward following the incident outside the Hollis Center. Cooper recalled, “At first, you were panicked? But then you were very calm, cool and collected. So, I was surprised because I would probably have gone inside to the desk and demanded them to tell me if they saw anything.”


Lieutenant Robert Casey, who handled my case from Public Safety, discussed prevention methods for Stetson students on campus. Lieutenant Casey preached his enthusiasm for students to register their electric scooters. “I would like everybody to register their scooter. I cannot stress that enough because that makes it so much easier because, for the most part, when you register your scooter, it’s asking you vital information: the name, the brand name, the model, serial number of the scooter. It’s very important.” He recently had a case where, during a patrol, he accidentally came across a scooter ditched on the side of Garfield Avenue, right on the outskirts of campus. With the registered Stetson decal, the unique code allowed Lieutenant Casey to reconnect the student – unaware of their scooter status – with their scooter. Lieutenant Casey says, “I take these electric scooter cases personally.”


Lieutenant Casey and Mirkamol Usmanov ’27 have informed me of an interactive session held by Captain Dee Carpenter and Administrative Assistant Sixto Nieves in front of the CUB around the beginning of the Fall 2023 semester. They handed out flyers with a QR code, taking students to the registration form. Usmanov had this to say following the session, “Today, there was a community event for theft security by the administration of Stetson University. And they have educated me on how there have been around 20 thefts in the last week alone. And I love how they are taking action to prevent that by giving us security measures.” Lieutenant Casey stated that only five students have since registered—but that is five more. After talking to many students, a handful have said they were unaware of registering their electric scooters. This raises the question of whether a stronger community watch system or student-led initiative could truly help reduce theft incidents. 


Though Lieutenant Casey and Mirkamol Usmanov have different opinions, they do agree on the importance of security at Stetson. Usmanov believes a student organization would benefit the campus by reducing theft incidents, as they are another set of eyes on the vehicles. Lieutenant Casey believes a student organization could encourage students to lock up their scooters and encourage students to register their vehicles. Lieutenant Casey is interested in this student-led organization working alongside PSAFE, “I think it takes more than public safety.” Public Safety is not the only institution on campus that focuses on vehicle safety. Residential Living and Learning has taken to posting  encouraging scooter safety on campus to their Instagram. Scooter safety is more than just a personal matter– it’s a Stetson matter. 


Moreover, the presence of bike racks and taped-up squares throughout Stetson University highlights the campus’s commitment to sustainable transportation options.Bike racks and taped-up squares cover all of Stetson University. Certain facilities have in-ground bike racks and their squares are not peeling. Electric scooters are efficient and convenient– what is more convenient than hopping off and kicking back your scooter with “lock mode” on? That’s the glory of scooter parking. Taped-up squares embody such efficiency. When asked if such parking for scooters encouraged people not to lock up their scooters, Lieutenant Casey stated, “Signage would help, you know, just reminding people, hey, don’t forget to lock it.” Currently, signage for scooter parking reads, “Scooter Parking.” Updated signage would reinforce securing your electric scooter so students can feel more inclined to lock them up safely. 


In an unassuming area next to the Hollis Center, there is a square with simple signage. Adjacent to the building, an in-ground bike rack is conveniently placed. My decision was straightforward: to veer left or right upon entering the main entrance. Choosing the right side, where the bike rack stood, required minimal effort.This seemingly mundane choice often goes unnoticed, but it encompassed the decision to either secure my scooter or neglect it. The environment felt safe, and I parked my scooter as I would on any other day, in any different location on campus. However, this incident served as a reminder that all it takes is one unlocked scooter to fall victim to theft.


A change amongst Stetson will take time, and this conversation has brought forth many ideas. To name a few, Cooper Rodenburg and Lieutenant Casey have come up with a multitude of them, including: longer bike racks to include scooters, in-ground racks replacing temporary racks placed within certain halls, more security cameras, and bicycle lanes to break up the crowds. With the hopeful enforcement of these ideas, electric scooters can be protected and can survive Stetson alongside Hatters.

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