Volunteer bike team seeks to curb crime in Provo
A volunteer community bike team will be taking to the Provo River Trail as part of a new effort to curb crime in the area.
Provo Police Lt. Mathew Siufanua said a group of volunteers approached the department several months ago, asking to do a volunteer bike watch along the trail.
"If there is ever a true, community-based initiative, this is it," Siufanua said Tuesday. "It was actually the citizens who came to us."
The Mobile Bike Team will take shifts riding the trail at different times throughout the day, Siufanua said. They will always be in groups of two, they ride with helmets and they aren't allowed to carry weapons.
"Mostly they are the eyes and ears," he said. "That is strictly what their purpose is. If someone committed a crime, they are told just to pass [the suspect], get to a safe place, give us a call and we'll respond."
The volunteers go through two hours of training one hour in the classroom, and another hour learning bicycle safety. Siufanua said they have about 40 people moving through the process currently, and about a dozen who have finished and will be able to hit the trail immediately.
Siufanua said they have not had a reported rape on the trail since the severe beating and sex assault of a 19-year-old girl in June 2010, but they often receive reports of criminal mischief, assault, disorderly conduct, and lewdness from trail users.
Anyone interested in joining the bike team should call the Provo Police Department at 801-852-6210 and request to be a part of Volunteers In Policing.