Reed College using GPS ‘bait bikes’

Bike shop pro offers tips: Use two locks for added secuirty

Reed College staff put a GPS tracking device on this bike. (KOIN)
Reed College staff put a GPS tracking device on this bike. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Steal a bike from Reed College and law enforcement may be right behind you.

Campus Safety Director Gary Granger said between August and December, there were more than 30 reported bicycle thefts on campus. He said the problem is not isolated to Reed College or Southeast Portland, but new technology has allowed campus safety officers to become more proactive.

In addition to on increased patrols, the college is now using GPS devices that are attached to bicycles. Friday, a tracking device was clipped onto a bicycle that had been abandoned. The bike was put back on campus around 2:30 p.m. in an area prone to theft. Around 8:30 p.m. a campus safety officer was alerted via text message that the bike had moved more than 10-feet from a predetermined location.

Campus safety responded to check for the bike and security saw several suspicious people – including a person believed to be a “lookout,” Granger said. The people were seeing leaving the area in a white van. Staff contacted Portland police. An officer responded, but by the time information had been shared, the tracking device was pinning back to a location in Clackamas County.

The sheriff’s office was notified and a deputy responded. The bicycle was recovered, Granger said.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, the most common neighbors for reported bicycle thefts included downtown, Northwest and the Pearl District. Other neighborhoods that are prone to theft include Sunnyside, Hosford-Abernethy, Sellwood-Moreland, Lents, Concordia, Hazelwood and Richmond. Police said Saturday typically is the most common day for bicycle thefts.

Based on bureau statics, the most popular brand of bicycle stolen are Specialized, Schwinn and Cannondale.

Brian Leber, inventory manager at Bike Gallery in downtown Portland said he recommends people use a U-lock to secure their bikes. He said cable locks can be cut very easily and should not be used as a primary lock. Leber said cable locks are good for secure wheels and should be used in conjunction with U-locks that secure the bike’s frame.

Leber said the bike frame is the most expensive part of a bike followed by the rear wheel.

“If you’re going to turn your back and shop for more than 15- 20 minutes, you’re going to want to secure the wheels too,” Leber said.

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