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New program aimed at reducing bicycle thefts on campus

RELEASED: Oct. 24, 2011

Bait Bike

EAU CLAIRE — Stealing a bicycle on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus is now more difficult thanks to a new UW-Eau Claire Police initiative.

University Police recently purchased tracking devices that were placed on "bait bikes" around campus, said Sgt. Chris Kirchman. University Police will be notified when the bait bikes are taken and officers can track the stolen bike's location, he said.

Between July 1 and Sept. 30, 13 bikes valued at nearly $5,000 were reported stolen from the UW-Eau Claire campus, Kirchman said, adding that none of the stolen bikes have been recovered.

"Every year UW-Eau Claire experiences bicycle thefts from various areas of campus," Kirchman said. "With the problems we have experienced this school year, this new program is an effort to reduce the number of these thefts."

In addition to the tracking devices, the UW Eau Claire Police Department also will distribute bright yellow "This Could Be a Bait Bike" stickers for people to place on their bicycles to act as a deterrent to potential bike thieves, Kirchman said.

"The stickers bring attention to the problem of bicycle thefts and can also act as a reminder to bicycle owners to secure their bicycles using effective locking devices," Kirchman said.

Bait bike stickers are available for free from the UW-Eau Claire Police Department in Crest Wellness Center on upper campus, Housing and Residence Life on the first floor of Towers Hall on upper campus, and from the Parking Office in Schneider Hall on lower campus.

The UW-Eau Claire program is modeled after a 4-year-old program at UW-Madison, Kirchman said. UW-Madison has reported a 30 percent reduction each year in the number of bike thefts on campus, he said, adding that the penalties for stealing a bicycle range from fines of $421 to criminal penalties that may result in jail time.

UW-Eau Claire Police received a $3,400 grant from the Wisconsin Office of Justice to fund the bait bike initiative.

For other tips for protecting a bicycle from potential theft, follow this link http://www.uwec.edu/Police/resources/bike-theft.htm.

For more information about the UW-Eau Claire bait bike initiative, contact Sgt. Chris Kirchman or Lt. Jay Dobson at 715-836-2222.

-30-

JB/DW

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