Tulane University's Bait Bike Program Aims To Catch Bicycle Bandits

Ann McClure's picture
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A bait bike program designed to diminish bicycle thefts has been instituted by the Tulane University Police Department. GPS tracking devices have been installed on several bikes that will be locked to bike racks -- alongside non-baited bikes -- on Tulane's Uptown and downtown campuses.

Signs on all Tulane University bike racks warn potential bicycle thieves about the baited bikes. "The goal is to mitigate the amount of bikes being stolen and get the message to criminals," Tulane Police Superintendent John Barnwell said. "The majority of thefts on campus are of bicycles."

When a baited bike is taken more than a few feet or travels faster than 5 mph, email and text message alerts are sent to the bike's owners every five seconds, and Tulane police officers will pursue the bandit, using a real-time tracking map. "It's not if we catch you, it's when," Barnwell said.

Under Louisiana law, bike thieves could face jail time, according to the value of the bike. Bicycles worth more than $1,500 could get a convicted crook up to 10 years; bicycles worth $500-$1,500 could mean up to five years; and bicycles worth less than $500 could mean a sentence of up to six months.

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