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Wednesday - December 13, 2017 1:35 am

UW-L student turning his 3 stolen bikes into theft-tracking website

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He's had three bikes stolen from campus. One was left unlocked 10 minutes.

But, Joshua Rostek is making the most of it. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse senior is going to track the thefts on campus, putting his geographic information systems (GIS) knowledge to work.

UW-L had 170 bike thefts the last three years and 40 last September alone.

"Last semester I worked with the campus police and we developed an interactive webpage," said Rostek, who admits he probably didn't lock his bikes properly when they were stolen. "I'm working with a professor right now to get that available to student because I want that to be sort of a civil service tool that other people can use and identify where theft is occurring."

Rostek tracks how many bikes were stolen, where they were stolen and where they were eventually recovered. Rostek says his data is based on registered bikes, something he says is critical.

"More important than the lock, it comes down to if there's no paper trail there's no accurate tracking that can be done," he said, though a lock might prevent the theft completely. "So, as me, as a geographer, if I don't have location data or if I don't have something related to location, I can't make a map."

Rostek gave away over 70 u-locks Monday and Tuesday while showing his research and encouraging people to register their bikes.

Rostek hopes the website will be available for soon.

Last modified on Wednesday - December 13, 2017 10:34 am
Drew Kelly

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