PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Somewhere between chopped locks and chop shops… victims of bike theft have been left without a ride – or much hope.
That was before criminals starting catching wind of a breed of bikes that are well – happy to go for a spin.
“The bike moves the bike will signal the operator and the operator brings up our regular cameras and in turn the police are dispatched and we are watching them as they drive away,” says Maureen Rush, V.P. of Public Safety at University of Pennsylvania.
That is called a bait bike. Similar ones have been stashed around the campus of the University of Pennsylvania as a way to crack down on the paralyzing number of bike thefts the campus was seeing.
“People who commit bicycle thefts aren’t just doing bicycle thefts they are individuals who have a rap sheet or past of committing violent crime.. and they are on your campus,” Rush says.
So to spook those criminals, bikes with GPS chips hidden in them have been placed in high theft zones.
When they move, police are able to follow them on camera.
So far, the university has gone 22 for 22 in terms of arrests.
“These are just 22 unlucky people who picked the wrong bike,” Rush says.
If you have noticed any cross streets on these screens, no worries. They change the bait bike locations all the time.
Oh and they’ve been rigged to stick in low gear — so good luck to a criminal who thinks they can outride the cops.
“The hope is that word spreads that the bike you take may be a bait bike… you never know,” Rush says.
Alexandria Hoff: “Since implementing the program one year ago the campus has seen a 37% drop in bike thefts.. Temple and the Philadelphia Police Department are now looking to implement similar programs.”