City Paper is not for tourists
A couple of months ago, while surfing the Web for a LoJack-style device for his bicycle, Chevy Chase resident Evan McAnney ran across an article about a Sacramento, Calif., man who installed a tiny radio transmitter into a bicycle and then, with the help of police, left it unattended and unlocked in order to entice a thief.
It sounded like a worthy strategy to McAnney, who’s had five bicycles stolen in three years of living in the District. “I will never be able to afford a car. A bike is my only personal means of transport, and an important element in maintaining morale,” he says via e-mail.
McAnney had no idea how to get his bike-bait idea off of the ground until he stumbled across an old Washington Post article about the D.C. police’s bait-car program, which is funded by a Department of Justice grant. So he set out to find out if there might be money for catching bike thieves.
Since April, McAnney has contacted police, the Department of Justice, members of the D.C. Council, and various other city offices. He has not gotten a response to date.
McAnney attributes the stonewalling to the fact that the bait cars’ use has foundered due to liability concerns. “I’m being stonewalled because the DC government and police are embarrassed to have a parking lot full of brand-new vehicles that are useless,” McAnney writes.
Police spokesperson Officer Kenneth Bryson says that the department welcomes “any ideas and recommendations for crime-reduction efforts,” adding that McAnney sounds like “a concerned citizen trying to address a problem by working in conjunction with the police.”