Winnipeg police are expanding the use of bait bikes in the city, as officers continue to combat bike theft.

The bait bike program was launched in 2018, with police outfitting bikes with GPS in order to track and catch thieves. 

Sgt. Brian Chrupalo tells CTV News last year’s focus was in downtown Winnipeg, but he said they started using bait bikes late in the season. 

“We used it on a number of occasions. I was able to ride the bike up in plain clothes and chain the bike up,” said Chrupalo. 

“And when it was stolen I would radio to the units that were in the area and from there we’d converge on the person who was on our stolen property and arrest them.” 

This year, Chrupalo is widening the reach of the program and plans to use bait bikes across Winnipeg. 

“We’re going to see where the trends are. If people are stealing bikes in certain areas,” said Chrupalo. 

Police will soon begin sticking bait bike stickers on bike racks across the city, as a visual attempt to remind thieves that police are watching. 

Chrupalo also stressed that cyclists registering their bikes is “crucial” so police can quickly identify bikes as stolen and eventually return them to their rightful owners. 

Currently cyclists can register bike serial numbers on a voluntary registry through the City of Winnipeg. There is a one-time per bike cost of $6.70 

According to the City of Winnipeg there are 9,219 people, and a total of 10,972 bikes, registered in the bike registry.