Property theft is the crime reported most often on the University of Arizona campus.

And many of those reports are


thefts; every day there are hundreds of bikes parked on campus.

The universitys Bait Bike program means any one of them could be a trap for a would-be thief.

If you are here to take a bike and commit a crime, were watching, UAPD Sgt. Andrew Valenzuela told KGUN.

He says theres been some version of the program in place for the roughly 20 years hes been with the department.

It involves bikes locked up around campus that dont belong to students, under surveillance.

This year theres been a renewed partnership between UAPD and the universitys Parking & Transportation Department, as well as new tracking technology on the bait bikes.

Somebody tries to steal a bicycle, then, we have a way to track it and connect with UAPD so that they can respond, said Diana Moreno, Asst. Director of Transportation Programs at UArizona.

Well just say that theres technology installed in a way that will assist us, Valenzuela said. We dont tell the community how many bait bikes there are. But we have been telling the community, together with our partnership with Parking and Transportation, that they are out there. There are signs strategically placed throughout campus.

From the beginning of the fall semester through November, UAPD saw 133 reported bike thefts.

Moreno is more aware of the problem now than when she was a student at UArizona.

I didnt notice it was an issue, she said. But now its more apparent, obviously, because I work with that on a daily basis.

Bait bikes are just one way to combat bike theft.

The harder that you can make any piece of property to steal, the less likely that it is to happen, Valenzuela said.

He recommends properly locking bikes to racks, incorporating both frames and wheels. He says even removing wheels and seats, if possible, can deter others from stealing them.

UArizonas Parking and Transportation also offers other free options, including bike valets, bike lockers and a new nationwide registry that tracks serial numbers. The department also hands out free bike locks, helmets and lights.