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We've got a real problem, Detroit. Bike theft and petty crime is skyrocketing right now in all neighborhoods of Detroit. Bikes are stolen in broad daylight and criminals cut locks right in front of busy businesses.

Let's put technology to work and build a bait bike and a ton of free bait bike stickers to deter and track these thieves right in the act. We can fight back and put the fear back in theft.

Folks: We've got a major bike theft problem in Detroit

It's all too common a story: You go out to get tacos with some friends and you lock up your bike with your super duper Kryptonite mega lock that you got from your local bike store. You're inside eating while someone notices your sweet ride. In the time it takes you to eat half of one of those little authentic tacos, someone has taken an angle grinder to your "theft-proof" lock and they're gone. No bike, no way home.

Not only is this the least-fun thing in the planet, but your confidence in your community is suddently blown to bits. Why get another bike here if it's just going to walk away? Theft is truly insidious and can get inside your head and make you think twice about sticking around.

We can solve bike theft if we stick together and get a little nerdy.

GPS technology is not new. It's been around for a few decades now and it's used in everything from your iPhone to the TomTom on your Mom's dash. The tough part is using that technology effectively to solve a problem.

Enter Detroit Bait Bike. Using GPS trackers distributed to the community for free to a select few riders, we can keep tabs on certain bikes and follow it should it get stolen. This will lead us back to the source of the bike thief and perhaps locate other stolen bikes.

These stickers the ones the SFPD uses for their program. Ours will be similar.

More importantly, FREE STICKERS will be distributed across all local bike shops and bike events that read, "Is this a bait bike?" similar to the program in San Francisco. The concept is it'll be impossible to tell which bike is tracked and which bikes aren't. Through a public awareness campaign, it'll be known that it's much riskier to steal a bike now than ever before.

 

Why we need your funding

We want to build and implement the first low-cost open source bike tracking device right here in Detroit and distribute them for free to a few key biking groups and normal citizens. The idea is that it'll be impossible to know which bike is tracked and which isn't. Also, we'll need to print stickers for the whole darn community and that isn't cheap.

Here's our proposed budget:

x20 Bait Bike Tracking Devices: Componetry @ $149/ea. = $2980

Data plan per Bait Bike device: $14/mo x 20 devices = $3360/year

10,000 Bait Bike stickers: $99 per 1000 stickers = $1000 plus shipping

Design, construction, coding and deployment: Provided by the nerdy folks at the DBC

 

But wait! What happened to Detroit Bait Car?

You might remember that we launched this project as Detroit Bait Car and made a pivot during the project. There's a few good reasons for this:

-A Bait Car program is really intense. It's a concentrated sting effort that really should be led only by the police because it's dangerous, complicated and full of risks. While our heart was in the right place, we really didn't understand how complicated it could be until we dug into it further.

-It's not our goal to be sending people up the river. We just want to deter theft and make it much harder of a target because it wrecks people's faith in a community. We're confident this new project with its widespread awareness component will be effective.

-It takes a huge amount of money to build just one Bait Car. With this new program, we can distribute low-cost devices to tons of people and let them protect their bikes themselves. A decentralized model is much more robust than a top-heavy one.

If you were a backer on the original project and this new one doesn't match your goals, we're happy to refund your bucks in full. Just reach out to us at hello@thedetroitbus.com.

 

Detroit Bait Bike is a project of The Detroit Bus Company. The DBC's mission is to improve transit in the City of Detroit and that includes cycling. You can get more information on our company at thedetroitbus.com.

No single project is going to bring Detroit back. It's going to be the net-result of a thousand initiatives to make this happen. If you back this project, you'll be doing your part to kick crime in the ass. We can take an active role in taking back our streets and eventually making every neighborhood safe enough to raise a family.

Support The Bait Bike

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happens if you raise more money than your goal?

    More bait bikes! More bait stickers! We'll distribute devices and stickers all over the community and let people put them on their personal bikes. With automated tracking, we can look after quite a number of bait bags. With more devices in the community, the risk to criminals will be higher than ever. The more money we have, the more we can do together.

  • How do you expect people to recover their stolen bike once they find it?

    We advise users to contact their local police department who is undoubtedly very skilled at the proper methods of recovering stolen bikes. Your GPS tracker is excellent evidence but you should also already have photos and the serial number written down in case you need to prove ownership.

  • Isn't this VIGILANTE JUSTICE? Who do you think you are, Batman?

    We're not promoting any sort of DIY justice. Everybody has a right to track the location of their bike just like they already automatically track the location of their bike or cell phone. Again, if you find yourself with one of our devices and your bike gets stolen, don't take matters into your own hands. Instead, be smart and call the professionals.

  • Where can I get more information if I have some questions or need somebody to complain at?

    You can always contact us at 313-444-2871 or email hello@thedetroitbus.com anytime.

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