University of Wisconsin-Madison Police are making sure the public knows they’re watching and cracking down on bike thefts.
The Department’s Bait Bike Program is going strong after being launched in 2008, according to a release.
The GPS-enabled bikes are placed around campus and when they are taken out of a pre-determined perimeter, officers get a cellphone notification to start tracking the bike.
In the past, the program has averaged about one stolen bike a week, according to the release. This year, police have cited 11 people for bike theft, compared to five citations last year.
Police said the responses they get from thieves are always interesting.
“We came up with this program in 2008 and it was amazing to hear the things that people tell us,” said John Deering with UW-Madison police. “Generally when we think someone stole something and we interview them, we sometimes don’t really know the answer yet, but in this case we know the answer.”
UW police said 42 bikes have been reported stolen this year compared to 61 last year.
The most active spot for bike thefts is Union South, followed by the Memorial Union, according to the release.
The biggest problem is making sure students do a better job of locking their bikes up, police said. Cable locks can be easily cut so police recommend using a high-quality U-lock, and securing the lock to the frame of the bike.