Jul 17, 2017 | Atlanta, GA
The Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) has launched a new program this summer aimed at helping bicycle owners remember to secure their bikes.
Called “Operation BUMP,” the moniker for “Bicycles Unsecure Management Program,” this is the latest initiative to deal with a rise in bike thefts on campus.
As a part of Operation BUMP, when GTPD sees an unsecured bicycle, they will lock it with one of the department’s U-locks and apply an adhesive “Gotcha” tag to the seat, indicating that the owner should contact GTPD to have the bicycle unlocked.
Not only does this protect the bike, it helps motivate the owner to have a functional lock in place before leaving the bike unattended.
“When you don’t lock your bike, you are creating the potential for a crime of opportunity,” said GTPD Sgt. Gary Cook, who heads up the department’s bicycle unit. “The vast majority of bicycles that are stolen on campus are unsecured.”
The first “participant” in Operation BUMP was mechanical engineering student Leo Prinzi. The GTPD U-lock and “Gotcha” tag were a little confusing when he first saw them.
“When I arrived at the Ford building, ready to lock my bike, I realized I didn't have my key,” Prinzi said. “I was in a hurry to be at a meeting, so I just left my bike at the bike rack unlocked. I figured no one would take it in the hour I was in the meeting. When I got back from the meeting, I saw my bike had a Gotcha sticker along with a U-lock, both put on by GTPD.”
Initially, Prinzi thought he was in trouble, but he quickly realized the point of the program was to help students secure their bicycles. He said GTPD also made him aware of the recent bicycle thefts on campus. So far in 2017, there have been 40 bicycle thefts on campus, double the number for the same time period in 2016. Of those 40, eight were not secured at all, and 20 were secured with a cable lock.
“This was a real eye-opener to me,” Prinzi said. “Since then, I always lock my bike, even if I'm going to be somewhere for five minutes.”