The University of Washington Police Department is reaching out to cyclists in the hopes of cracking down on bike theft on campus.

Earlier this month, UWPD began posting notices at bike shops around the city, asking cyclists with information on stolen bicycles to send in tips to stolenbiketipsinseattle@gmail.com.

“We get a lot of bicycle theft here at the UW,” says UWPD sergeant Doug Schultz. ““We’re trying to solicit…information about guys selling bikes on the street and stuff that’s being sold over Craigslist,”

Schultz says about 40 bikes were reported stolen on UW’s campus in the last month, and UWPD usually handles between 125 and 175 bike theft cases each year. “We recover about 10 to 12 percent,” Schultz says. “It’s usually the higher end bikes we’re able to find. A lot of people don’t write down their serial numbers. It’s a tough thing to follow up sometimes.”

Schultz says he hopes that people who're offered bikes at too-good-to-be-true prices on the street will send tips to UWPD, and specifically mentioned a comment left on my Slog post yesterday about alleged bike thieves at Seattle Central:


what's funny is I am almost positive this is the same pickup that has been parked openly on MLK south of Jackson (in Mt Baker) many days over the last few months.

I've driven by a few times and wondered, "are those bikes all his?" It's astounding nobody called the cops about them. Now I wish I had.

“This is the type of [tip] we’re trying to solicit," Schwartz says.

So far, UWPD has only received one tip about a stolen bike, but it may pay off. Schwartz says he believes the purple Bianchi bicycle recovered in the Seattle Central incident may belong to a UW student. "This is the first one that I think is going to pan out,” he says.