APD launches ‘bait-bike’ program | PostIndependent.com

APD launches ‘bait-bike’ program

With more than 33 bikes reported stolen in Aspen since May and a 30 percent increase in bike thefts from 2011 to 2012, the Aspen Police Department plans to debut a system Saturday that it hopes will deter the criminal activity.

The APD announced Friday that it will be using a GPS-enabled “bait bike” program. The GPS unit will be placed at various locations that have been identified as hot spots for bicycle theft. If the device is moved, the Aspen Police Department will be alerted of the activity, according to a press release. Officers will then be able to track in real time where the bicycle is, similar to Apple’s Find My iPhone application.

“Our department seeks innovative approaches to crime reduction,” said Chief of Police Richard Pryor. “This program is a step in the right direction for our community.”

Pryor added, “We’re not simply looking to catch people in the act, we want to prevent bicycle theft from happening to begin with.”

The program is modeled after University of Wisconsin Police Department’s bait-bike program. According to UW Sgt. Aaron Chapin, the program has decreased bicycle theft reports by nearly 50 percent since its implementation in 2008, from about 100 reports per year to approximately 40 to 50 per year.

The Aspen Police Department also plans implement a public information campaign to accompany the bait-bike program in the coming weeks.

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