San Diego

SDPD's Bait Bikes Program Leads to More Than 100 Theft Convictions

Of the 3,000 bikes stolen every year across the County of San Diego, half are in the City of San Diego

The San Diego Police Department's Bait Bike program in Pacific Beach has helped arrest and convict more than 100 bike thieves, local officials announced Thursday. 

Councilmember Lorie Zapf, SDPD Officer Clayborne, and local victims announced the program's success in Pacific Beach Thursday morning. 

The program outfits bikes with GPS devices that ping officers when the bike is being stolen. Police are able to track the theft and nab criminals in real life. 

Since its inception in 2014, police have been able to arrest 109 bike thieves to date, Clayborne said.

Of those, 104 have been successfully prosecuted, he said, a 100 percent success rate. Five cases are still pending. 

The program received additional funding and will continue on for the next two years. 

“This program is just another tool we can employ to keep our community safe and continue to maintain that San Diego is one of the safest cities in the nation," Officer Clayborne said.

Of the 3,000 bikes stolen every year across the County of San Diego, half are in the City of San Diego, Zapf said. Beach communities are hit the hardest. 

"These bikes, like this one, are very expensive," Zapf said. "They can cost as much as a used car."

Janelle, a local resident, said her family has had their bikes stolen multiple times. Their six bikes - worth more than $2,000 - were stolen multiple times. Each time, she said, they were locked up, both inside and outside their home. 

In one instance, thieves snuck into the house and stole her bike and her son's bike, double locked together. They removed the bikes from the home, then went back and closed the locks they left behind. 

"They stole a six-year-old child's bike," she said. 

She posted pictures to social media, including the community website NextDoor, to spread the word. 

Through social media, she was able to find the two bikes locked outside someone else's house. She found the bikes and took them back. 

"I encourage you to look around, post pictures, and take your bikes back," she said. 

Police encourage residents to always lock their bikes, inside and outside. U-locks are hardest to break, officers said. 

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