New App to Help Combat Bike Theft
Prince George, B.C. – Bike thieves beware.
The Prince George RCMP and the City of Prince George have partnered with online service ‘529 Garage’ to help reduce bike thefts in the community.
Bike owners can participate by digitally registering their bicycles in what’s been billed as a “reporting and recovery network.”
“The registration process takes about five minutes and includes essential information including the ownership details, serial number and photos of the bicycle,” says Corporal Craig Douglass.
“In the event of a theft, the information can easily be distributed to other registered riders through an alert feature on the smart phone app. The information can also be easily provided to both the police and insurance companies.”
The Prince George RCMP will be attending community and bike related events helping to register as many bikes as possible (free of charge) including during Canada Day festivities at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park Friday.
“We are taking on the cost because we believe in this project and we believe in registering as many bikes as possible will in the long run save police resources and time and also more importantly get these bikes back to their owners,” says Douglass.
He says the same project has been launched in a dozen other B.C. communities within the past year and has high hopes for its success here.
“My goal is to get thousands registered before the snow falls this year. We started softly Sunday and we had 50 registered within a few hours but starting this week we’ll be hitting many, many events.”
(Douglass notes you can still sign up for the free app at home though it won’t register your bike with the PG RCMP. He says that’s why it’s best to have the RCMP do it for you).
According to recent statistics, the new program is a timely one. Between 2013-2015 bike thefts increased 21.6% from 148 offences per year to 180 for a total of 498 stolen in Prince George.
Year-to-date, 86 bikes have been reported stolen compared to 63 in the same period last year.
(Douglass cautions however that just a small portion of stolen bikes, as little as 16%, are ever reported).
Marianne Koops, Shop Manager at Koops Bike Shop, is a big supporter of the program.
“I think it’s great. It’s way overdue for all the technology we have out today.”
She’s seen plenty of heartbroken bike owners come through her shop and says BMX models seem to be the biggest target.
“Because they’re quick and easy to sell. The average one costs $600-$1,000 but go as high as $2,500. We sell a lot of custom builds for $1,500 and up.”