Reed College is now using bikes that are equipped with GPS tracking devices to combat thefts.
It’s pretty frustrating when we are trying to get people out of cars and onto environmentally friendly transport modes, particularly bicycles, when the bikes end up getting stolen, especially from people who may be on low incomes and don’t have insurance.
Bike thieves know how to cut cables and the bikes can disappear in seconds flat. They are probably an easy sell, compared to iPhones or other items of value, particularly devices that are traceable.
As you know, I love stories about GPS devices being used to track stolen items and this one is producing great results in Portland where they are parking bait bikes on campus, just waiting for someone to come and take them. Not only does it reduce bike theft, but it also catches thieves and will make them think twice about committing that crime again.
Tracking devices are becoming extremely cheap and come in all sorts of varieties. Some are especially made for a particular device, but in many cases people simply use what they have. For example, that first smartphone you bought that no one wants to take off your hands, is perfect. Wire it into your car with a prepaid SIM and hide it somewhere in the car, with software such as Where’s My iPhone installed and you have a security solution. If you can afford a solution that already has GPS in it great, but if you can’t there are alternatives you can use.
I read stories like this often and a lot of these thieves are very busy people and when the Police arrive to locate your missing bike, the likelihood is that they will find more items of stolen property as well as illegal drugs and other items such as weapons.
The only footnote I would add is that it is always better to leave the chase and apprehension of the thief to the Police. They know how to deal with these situations, be smart but leave the next part to a professional.