Tulane University using bait bikes to catch criminals

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wwltv.com

Posted on January 18, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 19 at 1:38 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS - Tulane University is getting creative when it comes to catching criminals. The university is using a special GPS system to help track stolen property.

"Unfortunately, bicycle theft is our biggest problem when it comes to theft of items," said Tulane Police Department Superintendent Jon Barnwell.

There is no shortage of bicycles on Tulane's campus and criminals know it. Barnwell is in charge of the university's police department. He recently pushed for Tulane to invest in several bait bikes.

Starting this week, the decoy bikes are being equipped with gps tracking devices. They are then locked up on bike racks around campus.

If someone steals one, Tulane's police department can track the bike's exact location on a special website.

Last year, 56 bicycles were stolen on Tulane's campus. The university hopes that this new technology will curb crime. Signs posted around campus and stickers being distributed to students and staff -- warn would-be criminals to back off.

"We had over 40 percent reduction in our bicycle thefts that first time we had that system at NC state," said Barnwell who used the bait bikes working for his former employer.

Giannina Murphy relies on two-wheel transportation to get around.

The Tulane senior is happy to hear something is being done to curb crime on the uptown campus. "I would not know how to get home if I didn't have my bicycle. I live 20 minutes from campus so I have to bike to and from school every day," said Murphy.

As word gets out about the bait bikes --- Barnwell hopes it will make its way back to any potential thief.

"Basically what we want to get out on the street is that its not worth the risk to come to Tulane because we're going to catch you," said Barnwell.

Tulane University's police department plans on using the technology to track down other stolen items in the future like library books, laptops and book bags. It is also looking to share the GPS tracking system information with NOPD's Second District Police Station.

 

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