We are obsessed with these questions. That's why we created To Catch a Bike Thief - a reality-based web TV series that follows a pack of intrepid and tech-savvy cyclists who have built their own GPS-tracked bait bike to try to get some answers.
What is To Catch a Bike Thief?
It's a web TV show about cyclists that have had enough of bike theft and have decided do something about it.
In our series, To Catch a Bike Thief team members go from passive bystanders to active participants in the fight against bike crime, exploring the underground industry of bike theft, starting at its roots.
To continue producing this show, WE NEED YOUR HELP. If you are reading this, you are probably as fed up as we are with bike theft. Chances are that you or someone you know has been affected by bicycle theft. Please support us with a pledge to help fund the production of To Catch a Bike Thief. Think of your donation as your chance to take an active role in the fight against bike theft!
Why are we doing this?
There is a very strong perception that nothing can be done about bike theft. We disagree. We believe that in the game of bike theft, it's a constant balance of risk and reward for bicycle thieves. By exploring new ways to make it difficult for thieves to steal and sell stolen bikes, our web series will help tip the balance in favour of cyclists
OUR GOAL is to create an entertaining reality web TV series that shows how new tools and technologies can help cyclists and communities protect themselves against bike theft. By testing actual solutions in real bike theft situations and on camera, we will deliver evidence-based solutions to our viewers to make it safer to own and ride a bike in the city.
Who are we?
The To Catch a Bike Thief team is a group of cyclists from Vancouver. We are commuters, road bikers, mountain bikers, BMXers, and triathletes. We share a common love of two-wheeled human-powered machines. Each one of us brings a unique skill-set to the team, be it experience as a bouncer, as a welder, or just having a knack for high tech electronics and computer programming. A complete profile of all To Catch a Bike Thief team members can be found here.
But one of our most important team members is YOU. By reaching out to the cycling community for funding and interesting story leads, we want to welcome you - our supporters - to be active members of our team. As our show matures, we hope to include your feedback and ideas into our show. We are thrilled that some early fans inspired by our trailer to write to us, have been invited to join the To Catch a Bike Thief show! Bicycle theft is a problem that affects everyone, so we hope to continue our collaboration with YOU as time goes on.
The evolution of our project
The theft of a red Schwinn Moab on January 13, 2011 from one of our team members' homes officially marked the start of To Catch a Bike Thief. Denial, anger, regret and sadness quickly gave way to inspiration. We immediately began wondering what we'd say to bike thieves if we had the chance to confront them. We then started thinking it would be cool if we could set something like that up on camera. We took to the streets with a video camera to start asking people for ideas on how to confront the bike theft problem. Here's what happened:
Before long, we decided that if we wanted to address bike theft, we'd have to figure out how to study the problem. Building a bait bike seemed like the obvious choice because it would allow us to confront bike thieves, find out where stolen bicycles go, track down buyers of stolen bicycles and ultimately help us understand how to disrupt the chains of supply and demand for stolen bikes. We are not the first to construct a bait bike, but we are certainly the first to attempt making and using bait bikes as part of a reality show.
Future episodes will include enhancements to our bait bikes that include better tracking capability, hidden cameras and microphones to show our viewers how stolen bikes are bought and sold. We will show you ways to recover stolen bikes from online classified sites. We will showcase anti-bicycle theft social media tools that harness the power of communities looking out for each other and bootstrapping to existing law enforcement databases. The possibilities are endless and we're excited to keep receiving great ideas from our fans online
How will we use the money we raise?
Our project up until now has largely been a project of passion for all of us involved. we've constructed our bait bike and shot all of our video with our own hard-earned money. In creating a web series, we'd like to boost our production value and deliver a visually stunning and profoundly compelling narrative for our fans.
The money we raise will go entirely toward the production of six 10 minute long webisodes. This includes the development of additional bait bikes, and custom anti-theft technologies we develop for the show, video production costs - camera/lens rentals, our production team (camera operator, sound recorder), post production costs (sound and video editing, special effects, animations), on-set food/coffee, and of course, insurance! We've discovered that it's somewhat difficult to insure a video production that involves racing around on bikes through traffic chasing bike thieves in the middle of the night...
How will To Catch a Bike Thief reduce Bike Theft?
We'd like to think that bike thieves, wary about becoming internet-famous when a camera crew descends upon them with a stolen bicycle would stop them from stealing bikes, but we are not so naive. This is because the bike theft problem goes much deeper than good guys vs bad.
Even if we stopped every single bike thief today, someone else will start stealing bikes tomorrow. This is because
- it's so easy to steal a bike (30 guests at our launch parties got to "steal" our bike with only ordinary tools)
- no one seems to care about bike theft (film makers have been stealing their own bikes for years)
- the risk/reward balance favours bike thieves (2.5 bikes are stolen every minute in the US alone)
So the problem isn't bike thieves - it's bike theft! Therefore, To Catch a Bike Thief will need to promote change in other ways.
We think that a well produced web series about stopping bike thieves will promote discussion about the bike theft problem. We hope that our fact-driven approach will dispell some of the rumors and urban myths about bike thieves and bike theft. And by showing what works and what doesn't will hopefully make it tougher for thieves to steal your bike.
How can you help?
But if you really want to help make To Catch a Bike Thief an ongoing production with a shot at a spot on network television some day, please select a perk from the right and fund us today!
Write to us and share your bike theft recovery stories. Tell us what you do to protect yourself against bicycle theft. Share a video with us. We might even be able to get you on the show!