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Bicycle Equipped with GPS Device to Deter Theft; Campus police being proactive about bike theft on campus

Apr 14, 2010

Thieves beware. The next bike you steal might lead police directly to your door. University of the Pacific is equipping a bicycle with an innovative GPS system that will immediately notify police when the bike is removed from campus.

The thief-tracking system is being implemented because of a rash of bicycle thefts on campus last year. Approximately three to four bikes were stolen on campus each week in early 2009, a number that has dropped since then.

"Last year, Pacific was hit hard by bike theft," said Pacific police officer Nick Demuth. "We had $15,000 to $20,000 worth of stolen bikes reported last year."

The bicycle will be strategically placed in a rack somewhere on campus, just waiting for a thief to snatch it. The idea for the tracking system came from Sacramento County where a similar program had great success in minimizing bicycle thefts. It's also similar to an anti-car theft program in Stanislaus County where unlocked cars with tracking devices are parked in areas with high car-theft rates.

The GPS system installed in the bike is programmed so that when the bicycle is taken beyond the designated barrier of the campus, public safety officers are notified and the bicycle is tracked. The program was instituted last month.

While the program hopefully will deter theft, it isn't the only action that can reduce bicycle-related crimes. Students also must take a proactive approach to protect their bicycles, said Police Chief Mike Belcher. Students are advised to use U-Locks instead of cable bike locks as the cables can be cut in seconds, while the U-Locks are much more difficult to cut, Belcher said.

Students also should register their bikes with Public Safety; registration is free and only takes a few minutes by visiting the public safety office. Bicycles can also be registered with the City of Stockton for a $10 fee.  Furthermore, bikes that are not registered can be impounded by police.

For additional information about the GPS bike program, contact Officer Nick Demuth, at  ndemuth@pacific.edu.