Vancouver cyclists know how To Catch a Bike Thief
Published: Monday, March 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2012 15:07
In Vancouver, a loose collective of cyclists and filmmakers have developed a creative, tech-savvy approach to preventing and raising awareness of bicycle theft across Canada, and they have made the entire campaign into an exciting Web series.
The Web series, To Catch a Bike Thief, involves a cyclist locking up a “bait-bike” which is fixed with cameras and GPS-tracking equipment somewhere in the city. When the bike thief strikes, the team of cyclists will pursue him.
During the summer, production of the series began when the group tested their bait bike. They ran round the clock sting operations, waiting for a thief to cut the lock so the intercept team could hop onto their bikes and give chase to the stolen “bait bike”.
“GPS-tracking gives our intercept team dispatch real-time response of the bait bike, and allows our team to develop a proper intercept strategy that is both safe and effective,” said Ingo Lou, producer of To Catch a Bike Thief. “We want to make sure we have all the information we need before we go and intercept our bait bike after it’s been stolen.”
According to the Web series trailer, which made its Internet debut in February, 2012, a bicycle theft occurs once every 30 seconds. Less than half of those thefts are ever reported and only one in 100 stolen bikes are ever recovered.
According to Lou, inspiration for the Web series, “To Catch a Bike Thief,” was quite simple.
“Honestly, I just got tired of having my bike stolen,” said Lou. “I called Kristen [Aubrey] at Sweet Currant Productions and said, ‘we need to do something’.”
However, To Catch a Bike Thief, is not meant to be made as adversarial justice.
“Our show is not about good guys versus bad guys. It’s not Dog the Bike Thief Hunter,” said Lou. “Bike theft is a problem, but it’s never really discussed, so we’re raising awareness.”
Kristen Aubrey, the director of To Catch a Bike Thief, reiterated this point, saying that she wants to understand the big picture of bike theft, as a means to help cyclists protect their bikes.
The To Catch a Bike Thief team hired security guards on bicycles to be on hand when confronting bike thieves. The security detail isn’t there to make arrests, but to observe report and deter any potential violent behaviour to protect the intercept team.
“We’re going to try to raise 20 thousand dollars for the first season of the series,” said Lou. “If we have money left over, we’re going to buy 50 bait-bikes, leave them all over the city and see where they go and what we can understand from it.”
As part of the team fundraising campaign, launch parties are being held in both Vancouver and Toronto on April 2 and 5, respectively.
The first episode of the Web series is set to air online on April 2 at tocatchabikethief.com.