Warning: This could be a bait bike

Categories: Bicycle
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Photo by Adam Pieniazek
The University of Minnesota is trying a new tactic to bust thieves who go after pricey bikes on campus: bait bikes. In the fall of 2009, University police will plant bikes that can be tracked with GPS in some of the top-theft areas of campus. Think bait cars, but much less sophisticated.

In other words, take your cable cutters elsewhere. Or risk it and hope a quick resell won't get you busted.The last thing you want to be doing as a criminal is riding around town on a bike tracked by police.

Since September 2008, there have been 100 reports of stolen bikes on campus. That comes to a total loss of about $47,000. Last year there were 68 stolen bikes reported.

More from the Minnesota Daily:
Bicycle theft is up from the same period a year earlier, in which 68 bicycles were stolen.

Police will use unclaimed and abandoned bikes as bait, and attach the hidden GPS system to the frame. If stolen, the bike will send a signal to police, who may track its location electronically and make an arrest.

The hardware cost for each GPS unit is around $1,000, along with a monthly monitoring fee, Miner said.

"In the scheme of things, it's a fairly reasonable small price to pay," he said.
A similar program at the University of Wisconsin Madison resulted in a 30-percent drop in thefts.

The most surprising fact from the story: The average cost per bike stolen on campus was nearly $1,000. Are there that many students biking around on a $1,000 bike?

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