Two arrests have been made as a result of the Bait Bike Program implemented in November 2018.
The people arrested were not affiliated with the University. The program is part of the University Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) continuing efforts to hinder campus motor vehicle theft.
The 2019 “Annual Security and Fire Safety Report” released by DPS revealed a dramatic increase in motor vehicle thefts in recent years. The report indicated 17 accounted cases of bike theft in 2018 alone, in contrast to the five reported in 2017.
Despite this general spike, bike thefts have gone down this academic year, according to a statement provided in a prior email to The Daily Princetonian from the Assistant Vice President for Public Safety, Paul Ominsky.
Ominsky attributed the DPS Bait Bike Program as a possible “contributing factor” to this decline in light of the two arrests.
In addition, Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchess noted a “modest decline” in stolen bikes since the enactment of the Bait Bike Program in an email to the ‘Prince.’
According to the official University press release, the DPS Bait Bike Program works to encourage bike thieves to think twice through a sticker that states, “This Could Be a Bait Bike: Think Before You Steal,” which warns prospective criminals that the bike may be equipped with a tracking device. The sticker is available for bike owners that have registered their bikes — an important protective step that bike owning students should take, emphasized the DPS website.
“A further decrease in bike thefts is a goal of the program,” wrote Hotchkiss. “We would like to have more people add the bait bike stickers to their bikes.”
In order to meet this goal, bike riding students on campus and Public Safety must work together, which some students believe should be an effort advanced on both parties.
“The University should definitely do more to … convince students to register their bikes. If both ends are working the system, there would be less thefts,” said Thomas Bogaev ’22. “If more people knew about this bait bike thing, it would help a bit because [the thieves] would know that the bikes are being tracked and there would be no reason whatsoever to steal it.”
Roshini Balasubramanian ’22 had her bike stolen outside her dorm the first time she left it unlocked. She discovered the Bait Bike program through an email sent out last year introducing the initiative.
“I would have registered my bike earlier if I knew about the stickers,” Balasubramanian said. “Everyone literally that I know who has a bike has lost it at some point.”