Bicycle Thieves in San Francisco Could Become Twitter Celebrities

Bicycle Thieves in San Francisco Could Become Twitter Celebrities

In the past few years, cycling in San Francisco has gained in popularity due to community support. The city has embraced this trend by improving paths; however, bicycle theft has also become a popular pastime for criminals. This has prompted police officers to become creative in policing such mischief.

Bait bikes” are being planted all over this city by police officers as a lure for bicycle thieves. These bikes are equipped with GPS technology, enabling them to be tracked in real time and thieves can be arrested on the spot.

I don’t know if you have seen the TV show “Bait Car,” but this seems a bit like that. Yet, officers are taking it just one step further, perhaps attempting to thwart further incidents.

Bicycle Thieves in San Francisco Could Become Twitter CelebritiesOne incident in particular, a thief stole a $1,500 bicycle that was parked outside a train stop and just pedaled off. Thirty minutes later, however, officers were hot on his trail, and Officer Matt Friedman, head of the de facto anti-bike-theft unit in Park Station, caught the criminal in a park with the bike. Armed with his iPhone 5 and a .40-caliber Sig Sauer semiautomatic, Friedman whipped out his smartphone and snapped a picture of the suspect as well as an image of the severed bike lock, tweeting it with a very special hashtag: #ThankYou4TakingOurBaitBike.

While this isn’t a new concept in fighting against bicycle theft, with similar programs on college campuses as well as in cities like Vancouver and Sacramento, I do believe it’s the first program to actually use social media.

Be sure to follow Officer Friedman and the SFPD Anti-bike Theft initiative @SFPDBikeTheft!

About the Author

Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.

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