Here's the scenario. Police lock up a high-value bicycle in a location where thefts have been known to occur. Thieves make their move, cut the lock, and soon the purloined bicycle is on the move as well. Unbeknownst to the thieves, however, the bike has been equipped with a hidden GPS tracker and alert system that notifies the police when the bike starts moving. They then track down the bike, recover the stolen goods, and catch the thief.
gone into effect in Brookline, Mass. The police nabbed their first bait bike thief in June, and have since made several additional arrests. So far it's the only bait bike operation in the Boston area, though it's simplicity, early successes, and presumable low cost would seem to make it likely that other towns and cities will adopt similar programs.
An operational bait bike program has the additional benefit of creating doubt in the minds of would-be thieves, making it less likely that they'll go through with the theft. To help foster this doubt, the Brookline police have been distributing "This Could Be A Bait Bike" stickers (pictured) to cyclists for placement on their bikes.
Bait bike programs aren't completely new, though they are still relatively uncommon. A handful of other cities and towns across the country have adopted them, as is detailed in this collection of videos on baitbike.com.
Pegasus Technologies of Sacramento, Calif., is one of the primary providers of Bait Bike tracking equipment. You can check out the technology behind it on SpyBike GPS Bicycle Tracker product information page.
Learn more about bike security:
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.