Uncategorized bike-theft

Published on September 9th, 2008 | by Shirley Siluk Gregory


Thieves Beware: UW-Madison Cops Plant ‘Bait Bikes’

Kristian Ovaska at Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.)Colleges across the U.S. are encouraging students to ditch their cars and ride bikes instead, but the University of Wisconsin-Madison is doing those efforts one better … by planting GPS (global positioning system)-equipped “bait bikes” around campus to nab would-be bike thieves.

Starting last May, UW-Madison police started locating the GPS-equipped bikes in places where previous bike thefts have occurred. When one of those bikes starts moving, cops know they’ve got a likely thief on the move. They can follow the bike’s movements on their computers, then dispatch officers to the scene to catch the culprit.

So far, the bait bike program seems to be working. From January of 2007 through May 2008, UW-Madison police tallied 100 bike thefts, but only one arrest. Since May, those arrest figures have gone up to 16.

“We’re hopeful that this piece of technology can help us deter thieves,” said police sergeant Jason Whitney. “Madison is one of the best biking cities in the world. We want students to have peace of mind knowing that if they bring a bike here, they will leave with it at the end of the school year.”

With the help of additional GPS purchases and bike donations from a local business, Budget Bikes, UW-Madison police hope to keep building their population of bait bikes on campus. They’re also handing out stickers that students can put on their own bikes saying, “This could be a Bait Bike.”

Caveat ereptor.

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

Shirley Siluk Gregory, a transplanted Chicagoan now living in Northwest Florida, represents the progressive half of Green Options' Red, Green and Blue segment. She holds a bachelor's degree in Geological Sciences from Northwestern University but graduated in 1984, just when the market for geologists was flatter than the Florida landscape. Just as well, though: she had little interest in spending her life either in a laboratory or, heaven forbid, an oil field. So, of course, she went into journalism. After extremely low-paying but fun and educational stints at several suburban Chicago weeklies and dailies, Shirley and her then-boyfriend/now-husband Scott found themselves displaced by a media buyout and spending the next several years working as freelancers. Among their credits: The Chicago Tribune, a publication for the manufactured-housing industry, and Web Hosting Magazine, a now-defunct publication that came and went with the dotcom era. Shirley's always been concerned about nature and conservation (and an avid pack-rat, as her family can attest to), but became even more rabidly interested in the environment primarily due to two factors: the growing signs that global warming was real and threatening, and the birth of her son, Noah, in 2003. Suddenly, the prospect of a world that might not be quite as habitable in 40 or 50 years took on a whole new, and personal, meaning. Living where she lives now also helped light the fire of Shirley's environmental awareness: her hometown was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and beaten up again by Hurricane Dennis in 2005. That, and the fact that she and her family were vacationing in New Orleans until the day before Katrina -- and spent 12 hours driving home for a trip that normally takes 3 -- has made Shirley deeply appreciate how fragile our lifestyles are, and how dependent they are on sound management of natural resources and sustainable living practices. That's why she's become a passionate reader and writer about all things green and sustainable.

Leave a Reply

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

Back to Top ↑