Rice U turns to bait bikes to curb thefts - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Rice U turns to bait bikes to curb thefts

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

For a college student, a bike is sometimes the only way to get around, so when Maya Adetula's was stolen last summer, it was a very big inconvenience.

"I was having to walk on foot and it was terrible it took me like 30 minutes. I was late to practice a couple of times," said the Rice University the student.

Her bicycle was one of about 100 that have been taken from the campus in the last 12 months.

The spike in thefts forced University Police to take action, and they did, locking up a bike on a rack and doing their policing online.

"We put the GPS unit on the bike, it's inconspicuous and we place the bike among other bikes and we'll put a lock on the bike," said Rice University Police Chief Johnny Whitehead.

Pegasus technology is one of several companies that offer the tracking software, which is widely used by law enforcement and some consumers.

When the bike is stolen and on the move the GPS chip sends Rice University PD dispatchers a signal, they then use Google maps to track the bike as officers make their move.

"We've increased the number of arrest since we deployed the GPS," said Chief Whitehead.

Nine thieves have been caught red handed so far, but there are many more out there and police say they are getting more creative.

"They will actually go around with a spare tire, pop the tire off and simply put another tire on the frame and they are on their way," he said.

It's why the University is going the extra mile to teach students how to keep their property safe.

For Adetula it was a lesson learned.

"This one, I lock it up all the time and usually never leave it overnight," she said.

"My dad bought this one and said 'If this one gets stolen I'm not buying another one' so hopefully this one doesn't get taken."

Rice Police recommend all students switch from these kinds of chain locks to the stronger u-lock type of lock.

They also say students should register their bikes in case they are ever stolen and they are recovered they could be returned.

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