UC Berkeley Bike-Theft Crackdown Results in Over 30 Arrests

A bike-theft crackdown appears to be working on the UC Berkeley campus: The number of thefts has dropped dramatically.

Grad student Sandra Harpster rides her dad’s old bike because hers was stolen after studying late one night.

“It was a Target bike that was very inexpensive, but still, you feel violated,” Harpster said. “It’s my mode of transportation.”

For Harpster, the thefts didn’t stop. The seat was stolen off her dad’s old bike, so she’s upgraded the lock she uses.

UC Berkeley police say 299 bikes were stolen last year. This year, the university started using “bait bikes,” using a variety of technologies to monitor bikes that are intended to attract thieves.

“Since January we have apprehended 33 people, I believe now, that have stolen the bait bikes, and we have noticed that bicycle theft is down about 45 percent,” UC Police Lt. Marc DeCoulode said.
The university is also highlighting sites like Bike Index, where bikes can be registered quickly.

Robert Prinze, of Bike East Bay, says more devices are in development. They’re helping to demo that comes equipped with a cellphone-enabled tracking system.

“It has an alarm and hopefully will encourage them to not mess with it,” Prinze said.

Transfer student Kayla Figone had her bike stolen at her last school. At Berkeley, she decided to walk, not bike.

“It makes me not want to ride my bike at all,” Figone said, “because I know a lot of people steal bikes.”

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