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Bike theft more than a policing problem


This letter is being written in response to the More needs to be done to stop bike thieves letter that the Prince George Citizen newspaper published on March 24.

As a bike owner and someone who has had more than one bike stolen in the past, I am sympathetic to Mr. Tosoff and his frustration of having a bike stolen; however bike owners need to do more too.

I reviewed the video surveillance of the bike theft. It took less than 10 seconds for the thief (dressed in all black including a hoody) to drop a small set of bolt cutters out from his/her sleeve and cut the cable lock off. About another 10 seconds to wrap the lock up around the frame (optional) and ride away.

View surveillance video here.

As you can see, there is no way to identify the suspect. The video merely confirms that the bike was stolen and might assist with an insurance claim, if eligible.

Unfortunately, far too many bike owners fail to do two things. First, bike owners usually spend anywhere from hundreds of dollars to many thousands of dollars on their new bikes, yet often buy inferior locks to protect it. Isn’t your investment worth purchasing a proven superior lock? These locks are made of very strong metals and cannot be cut in 10 seconds or 10 minutes for that matter. Further, bolt cutters would never be able to defeat them. Any reputable bike shop can provide sound advice on which locks will protect your bike best. Please stop by one of these businesses and pick one up.

Secondly, owners fail to record the serial number and other essential information when they acquire their beautiful new bike. Because bikes are usually mass produced, failing to provide police with a serial number severely limits our ability to get your bike back, even when the bike is recovered. Because it looks like a thousand other bikes, we need proof it belongs to you. The serial number is undisputed proof, yet the vast majority of bike owners fail to provide the serial number to police when their bike gets stolen. Please record your serial number upon purchasing the bike and store it somewhere it can be accessed immediately.

One way to keep a record of your serial number and photos of your bike is through an online registry. The Prince George RCMP have partnered with 529 Garage, a third party bike registration and recovery APP that assists bike owners with recording essential information about their bike, including serial numbers and photos. The local Detachment is providing the identifying decal, called a shield, FREE of charge. If your bike does get stolen, you (the victim) can use the APP to notify the hundreds (soon to be thousands) of other 529 Garage users in our community so that they can be on the lookout for your bike in real time. You will also have the serial number and photos to provide police for our investigation right from the start.

Police officers and volunteers will be out in the community registering bikes on 529 Garage for FREE. An updated list of dates, times and locations will be maintained on the Anti-Bike Theft page on this site.

Cpl. Craig Douglass

Communications NCO / Media Liaison Officer
Prince George RCMP

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