VENTNOR — In an effort to help local police departments mitigate crime, a city bike shop has donated e-bikes to five municipalities.
“We have one to three people a day coming in and telling us their bike was stolen,” said Michael Weisen, owner of AAAA Bike Shop on Ventnor Avenue with his wife, Ann Marie Weisen. “Many of these crimes also go unreported, which does not help the police.
“The police are doing the best they can, but if it’s not reported it’s not stolen.”
The Weisens, owners of the store for more than 45 years, decided to donate an electric bike to each police department in Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate, Longport and Pleasantville.
The couple hope the bikes will give officers more flexibility in where they can patrol and improve community awareness, as the bikes will make officers more visible and accessible.
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The donated Aventon Pace 500 e-bikes, which cost around $1,700 each, travel up to 28 mph, are easy to maintain, easy to charge, and can easily fit in a patrol car or SUV without a bike rack, as they are also foldable, says Michaël Weisen.
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He added that police officers on e-bikes would be able to get to dispatch locations faster than a regular bike, and without straining themselves like they do on conventional bikes, so they could complete their tasks more. effectively.
“E-bikes enhance our current modes of transportation,” said Ventnor Police Chief Joseph Fussner.
Fussner said the Ventnor City Police Department increased its numbers over Labor Day weekend and used the e-bike.
As for officers on the e-bike handling quality of life calls in the business district, they’ve had a good response from business owners, Fussner said.
Fussner also noted that the bike made it easier to interact with people and was less intimidating than a patrol car.
He said the e-bike would help officers monitor areas where patrol cars aren’t very suitable, such as the boardwalk or beach blocks, and troubleshoot parking issues.
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Capt. Stacey Schlachter, division commander of the Pleasantville Police Department’s Community Engagement and Accountability Division, said the bike will help improve not only their community policing unit, but also those of the other four municipalities. .
“With our community policing unit, we will be able to better control areas like city bike lanes and go deeper into the community, like entering apartment complexes and things of that nature,” Schlachter said.
“E-bikes can provide an advantage to daily patrol duties by expanding the scope of patrolling, as opposed to conventional bikes,” said Sgt. Atlantic City Police Department Information Officer Paul Aristizabal.
Atlantic City didn’t have an e-bike before the Weisens donated one, so details on where and which officers will use the bike are still in the works.
There will also be special training for officers using e-bikes, as there is for officers using conventional bikes.
The Atlantic City department said e-bikes could also be used year-round.
Many transportation projects across the United States will receive a $2.2 billion tranche of new federal funding. The grants announced Thursday are more than double the amount awarded last year under the same program. The initiative received a major boost this year thanks to a $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg traveled to Arizona to highlight two projects that revamp roads and add new bicycle and pedestrian bridges. A total of 166 projects will receive funding, ranging from Alaska to the Virgin Islands.
“By reducing fatigue with the help of its electric motor, officers can drive longer and further, providing more visibility within the community and potentially faster response times to service calls, such as during a festival or during heavy traffic,” Aristizabal said.
All bikes sold at AAAA include warranties and serial numbers listed on receipts, so customers can prove it’s their bike when reporting incidents.
Additionally, customers are encouraged to take photos of their receipts in case they lose theirs, which is another common issue customers encounter when presenting proof of ownership reporting their lost or stolen bike.
“We want to encourage other people to help the police,” said Ann Marie Weisen.
But the Weisens have some other tips for people who want to make sure their e-bikes or regular bikes don’t get stolen.
“Get a U-lock,” said Michael Weisen. “It’s almost impossible to break the lock unless you have specific tools.”