Following in the footsteps of police in Victoria, B.C., U of T’s community cops are now poised to nab bike thieves handlebar-handed.

In partnership with Toronto’s Police Services, the Bike Bait pilot program will fit a pricey bike with a high-tech global positioning device somewhere on U of T’s St. George campus, in the hopes acting as a deterrent and catching would-be bike thieves.

“What they do is they’ll scope out an area before they hit it, and then they’ll go and hit one or two bikes. Sometimes they work alone, sometimes they work in teams” explained Const. Peter Franchi, of U of T Police. Two or three bike thefts are reported to St. George campus police each week.

You have to be at the right place at the right time” to catch bike thieves, said Franchi, the co-ordinator of the Bike Bait program.

“With the GPS device we’ll be able to track it anywhere it goes.

The program is based on the same technology utilized by Victoria, B.C. police for their own Bike Bait program that has been credited “with a 19 per cent decrease in bicycle thefts within a six-month period,” according to a news release by U of T.

“We want to use the program to curb bike theft, but also hopefully to catch the bad guy,” said Franchi.

Though the pilot program is still being assessed, plans are already in mind to take it up a gear by introducing the “security tracking of office property” (STOP) system for bikes in October.

It is similar to the laptop anti-theft registration system of the same name, in which a metal plate and chemical tattoo are permanently stuck to a laptop at a cost to the user.

Franchi said that nearly 1,700 U of T community members have opted for the anti-theft laptop plate.

Bike Bait is also similar in concept to Bait Car programs used in some major cities in the U.S. and Canada, where in some cases, would-be car thieves have their engines cut and their doors locked by police who control the car remotely, as well as being tracked via GPS.