Crimewatch: Bait Bikes - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Crimewatch: Bait Bikes

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A criminal's dream comes true, thousands of clueless young people who aren't thinking about protecting their property.

University of Texas police say they expect a spike in crime next month as summer school begins.

Darrell Halstead, a crime prevention officer with the University of Texas, says the area around the RLM engineering building off Speedway and 26th Street is the top hot spot on campus for bike thefts.

He says on a busy day, there are between 1500 to 2000 bikes here. To a thief that means 1500 to 2000 opportunities.

"They're looking for students that have gotten up five minutes before class and not taking time to lock their bicycles appropriately," said Halstead.

Benjamin Bahorich may be a UT graduate student studying petroleum engineering, but a criminal outsmarted him and stole his bike. The 24-year-old learned his lesson.

"The lock was still hanging there but my bike was gone," said Bahorich. "Get a U Lock for sure."

Plenty of students use U locks and there are plenty who don't. Police actually recommend using two locks, the U lock and a secondary one, like a cable lock.

Police say there are more students and staff riding bikes to and from campus than before, which means more chances for bike thefts.

Bait bikes are one way police catch thieves in the act. FOX 7 can't show you but they look just like any other bike.

"We've actually caught one guy twice on the same bicycle," said Halstead.

Police say the 26th Street corridor is linked to several hot spots for bike thefts. They say criminals like it because it's easy access to the university and all the bus routes along the way.

Police park bait bikes in the top hot spots around campus. The area surrounding the RLM engineering building on 26th street and Speedway is the number one hot spot on campus.

Police say the other top hot spot is just across the street outside the chemical and petroleum engineering building. Others are the bike racks near 27th Street and Whitis Ave, Jester dorm, and the Perry Castaneda Library or the PCL.

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