The Chainlink

I got my bike stolen this weekend and started looking into hidden GPS trackers for my other bikes.  I came across this.  Has anyone ever used one or thought about getting one? It wold cut down thefts 10 fold.

http://www.integratedtrackers.com/GPSTrack/

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I recall reading an article by a NY journalist(?) who installed trackers in bikes & left them poorly locked up in "attractive" locations & tried to track them down when stolen.  He did this maybe half a dozen times, on the west coast as well.  I remember the trackers did not always work or the thieves learned to get rid of the trackers.  Anyway, it can give you an idea.. Very likely that somewhere in the Chainlink there is a link to that article.

i remember reading that article as well.

ilter said:

I recall reading an article by a NY journalist(?) who installed trackers in bikes & left them poorly locked up in "attractive" locations & tried to track them down when stolen.  He did this maybe half a dozen times, on the west coast as well.  I remember the trackers did not always work or the thieves learned to get rid of the trackers.  Anyway, it can give you an idea.. Very likely that somewhere in the Chainlink there is a link to that article.

I am very sorry about the theft of your bike, Sean.

Zoetrope beat me to the Outside link, but here are some other links to check out.

Here's a better price on the headset GPS/GSM tracker.

Here's a Guardian article setting forth the pros and cons of the SpyLamp.

My take on GPS devices and bike theft is that they're not a substitute for locking your bike properly every time. When the UIC police notice a particularly active pattern of theft, they do have a bait bike team that uses GPS tracking to attempt to get that particular thief. Using GPS units to recover stolen bikes is very labor-intensive. The process has been described to me as requiring 4-5 police officers (1 or 2 in a van; 1 or 2 in a squad car; and 2 on bikes for pursuit if/when the bait bike is stolen). As has been pointed out before, the GPS signal disappears when there is no longer a clear view to the sky (in a trunk, in a van, in a warehouse, in a basement, in a garage). This has also limited the design of the units since they have to be in plain sight on the bike and cannot be concealed within the frame, under the seat, or anywhere that would obscure the line of sight to the sky. The GSM SIM cards is a relatively recent addition, but assuming everything works; i.e. you remembered to charge the unit and top off your SIM card, once you're relying on the GSM signal, it's only going to be able to provide a location for the unit within 200 meters (an area of 125,000 square meters). Good luck calling the police with that information, or with your own door-to-door search inquiring whether there's a thief inside who stole your bike. 

Whether these would actually serve as a deterrent to bike theft is an open question. Certainly they're not in widespread use, and it's unlikely a thief would give a second thought to whether that headset cap is really a headset cap. There is a difference of opinion on the chainlink regarding the effectiveness of locking skewers, seat posts, etc. for deterring theft. Some believe that it makes their bike less attractive to thieves, and there are also a couple of recovery stories per year when someone takes a bike into a shop because they can't get their wheel off and the shop becomes suspicious. My personal opinion is that bike thieves don't give a rat's ass whether the bike has a GPS unit or locking skewers. The thieves typically flip these bikes in a matter of hours or days, and these devices become someone else's problem.

Sixty percent of the bikes reported to the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry were either locked with a cable lock or weren't locked at all. You want to reduce bike theft? Figure out a way to change that statistic.

Those are both great articles.  I definately agree, I always lock up both my wheels though the seat tube with a Kryptonite U Lock.  Mine got stolen from a break in. It was locked up in my basement and was the only bike snagged.  I think the nice thing about the GPS tracker is that you can scope out the premises, and wait for it to leave one of the houses on the block or a truck.  As long as it's moving you know it's on the road and you could spot it.  The cops aren't likely to help but they should at least stay out of my way when I give my thief a good scolding.

Was the bike locked to something in the basement, or free-locked?

Sean Struble said:

Mine got stolen from a break in. It was locked up in my basement and was the only bike snagged.

It wasn't locked.  I live in a three flat in which we are all like family.  I didn't think I had to lock it behind the door.

Steven Vance said:

Was the bike locked to something in the basement, or free-locked?

Sean Struble said:

Mine got stolen from a break in. It was locked up in my basement and was the only bike snagged.

So how would this work . . . you invest $150 in this thing . . . the bike gets stolen . . . ends up inside an apartment building, or in a locker in a storage faclity . . . GPS tells you within 200 yards, so with luck you can reasonably guess which building it's in . . .

Then what?

lojack

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