Bike theft in Vancouver is often carried out by organized crime rings. As a result, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers recently (22 June) called for tips to help defeat these crime rings. This post includes two tips for you to help end organized bike theft crime, and also protect your own bike.
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If you had a high-end, expensive bike and it was stolen, chances are it was not a crime of opportunity. More likely, you were the victim of an organized crime ring. A thief stole your bike, and then sold it to a fence. The fence might have sold it locally, or even shipped it into the USA or across Canada.
What You Can Do, 1: Send Tips to Crime Stoppers
Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, says:
“This is a well-organized operation complete with established transportation routes and networks of fences who buy and sell these bikes. Someone somewhere knows who’s behind these theft rings, but of all the tips we receive at Crime Stoppers, there are precious few tips on bike thieves. Perhaps you know a family member, a friend-of-a-friend who’s involved, or you’re involved yourself and want it to end, but don’t want to be identified.”
Your anonymity will be protected, and information will be passed on to the police. Also, you might earn a reward of up to $5,000.
What You Can Do, 2: Register Your Bike with Project 529
If you register your bike with Project 529, you are more likely to get it back if it is stolen. Bike theft specialist Detective Rob Brunt explains:
“Unlike your car, bikes don’t have vehicle identification numbers or a standardized serial number system across the cycling industry. Project 529 fills that gap. You can record your bike information on the Project 529 app for free to help us return your recovered stolen bike to you. But it only works if cyclists provide their bike information in advance. That’s what we’re urging all cyclists to do now as summer kicks off.”
If you wish, you can get a 529 Garage registration “shield.” Put it on your bike, so that thieves know your bike has been registered as your property.
Also, if you are buying a bike, you can use the Project 529 web site to check that it has not been stolen. Plus, you can report if your bike is stolen, so that more eyes are looking for it.
How to Locate your Bike’s Serial Number
To register your bike, you need to find the bike’s serial number. Most serial numbers are located under the bottom bracket where the two pedal cranks meet. Just turn your bike upside down and look around. If you draw a blank, then check the headset at the front of the bike or the rear stays. The diagram indicates the most common serial number locations (University of Texas).
If all else fails and you just cannot find your bike’s serial number, engrave your own number (such as your driver’s license number) onto the bike frame and take a photo of yourself standing proudly next to your engraved bike. If the bike is ever stolen, post the photo and the serial number on Craigslist. Most people do NOT want to buy a stolen bike. This is a great way to at least prevent anyone from profiting from stealing your bike.
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