The city of Charleston, S.C. is a bike town. It is home to half-a-dozen colleges and universities along with a bustling tourism industry, and bicycles are a popular form of transportation for students, visitors and residents.
Unfortunately, that also means bicycles are a prime target for thieves. In fact, the Charleston Police Department can field several stolen bike calls each day, causing officers to spend precious time and resources responding to petty theft. However, for theft victims and the PD, seeking justice is just as important as getting the bike back.
Frustrated by the manpower and resources required to catch bicycle thieves, Sgt. Heath King turned to Securus, Inc. for a solution to help curb bike theft, save resources and get thieves off the street.
After the police force began using locators from Securus, Inc., in just under 10 months, officers made more than 40 arrests. The process is also more efficient, with officers tracking down and arresting thieves in as little as less than 10 minutes, often catching them red-handed with the stolen bike.
"It might only be a $100 bike, but it's still a crime and we obviously have a duty to respond," King said. "But, we needed a way to respond more efficiently and effectively to get these thieves off the street and allow our officers to focus on other issues. With the Securus GPS locators, we can now make the arrest quickly, provide ironclad evidence that results in a conviction, and put these criminals behind bars, making our entire city safer with very, very little resources. It's the easiest thing to use and takes me about 10-15 minutes to set up."
King says the low cost and ease of use of the Securus system has allowed him to deploy units throughout the city and significantly ramp up arrests with very little time and money. Since nearly half of those caught are repeat property thieves, many of the bike thefts turn into felony charges, which carry longer sentences. While King says it's hard to put a figure on the amount of crime prevented by taking these chronic offenders off the street for a year or two, there's no doubt it significantly decreases theft crimes.
"Charleston is a beautiful city, and we're so pleased that our GPS locators are helping to reduce theft and make it a safer place for residents and visitors," said Tom Collopy, CEO of Securus, Inc. "We are impressed by Sgt. King and his team's innovative approach to leverage technology to better serve the community."