Cops hope to discourage thefts with ‘bait bike’ stings
If there’s one factor you may rely on, it’s that bicycle theft ranks among the many commonest crimes on this bike-friendly city.
“We’ve skilled fairly just a few over time, and the numbers are nonetheless important,” mentioned Paul Doroshov, deputy chief of the Davis Police Division, which took 567 bike-theft stories in 2019.
This 12 months, 360 bike thefts had been reported as of Aug. 31, the majority of them — simply over 70 % — snatched in the course of the ongoing shelter-in-place order that started on March 19.
And people are those that go reported. Many extra don’t.
Because it has in prior years, the Police Division is making an attempt to tamp down thefts by embarking on a “bait bike” sting operation — leaving high-end, unlocked bikes out in public with the intent of catching those that act on these crimes of alternative.
Since launching the operation in mid-August, officers assigned to the Group-Oriented Policing and Downside-Fixing (COPPS) workforce have nabbed 4 alleged thieves — one every evening the bikes had been deployed.
“They wait till somebody takes the bike and rides away on it” earlier than making their transfer, Doroshov mentioned. The end result: an arrest on grand-theft prices, given the worth of the bait bikes — donated by area people teams — at nicely over the $950 felony threshold.
As phrase will get out and maybe deters future crimes, “we’re hoping it makes a dent within the bike-theft fee,” Doroshov mentioned.
Of the 4 arrests made to this point, three suspects have come from out of city. One even suspected the bike was a lure — his pal was busted for a similar offense — however determined to take it anyway.
“Nearly everybody they’ve arrested has had an in depth arrest historical past,” Doroshov mentioned. One suspect reportedly was present in possession of brass knuckles, whereas others had illicit medication or had been on bail for prior offenses.
Along with the bike stings, police plan to launch an academic marketing campaign aimed toward urging bicycle house owners to license their wheels and make word of their distinctive serial numbers in case they should file a theft report. Offering an image of the lacking bike is useful too.
Doing so helps to extend restoration and return charges, which traditionally are dismal at finest — slightly below 5 % in 2019, solely barely higher to this point this 12 months at simply over seven %.
“We’re making an attempt to assault the issue with a multi-pronged strategy,” Doroshov mentioned. “For some individuals, (bicycles) aren’t only a leisure device — that is their transportation. It’s akin taking anyone’s automotive away.”
— Attain Lauren Keene at [email protected] Observe her on Twitter at @laurenkeene