Technology – from social media to online property registration sites – is helping curb the illegal activites of bike thieves around the globe.
In the UK, PCSOs Jaime Page, Matthew Sait and Derek Fletcher from the MPS/TfL run Cycle Task Force reunited a stolen bike with its owner this month.
While on patrol in Islington on May 3rd 2011, they noticed an unsecure and unattended silver bike upturned outside a sports shop in Chapel Market, London.
The officers checking the frame number of the bike against the National Mobile Property Register (NMPR) to check if it was registered and reported stolen. The checks revealed the registered bike had been stolen in Tavistock Square, WC1H one month earlier on April 4th.
The PCSOs detained the suspect – a 17 year old boy from Camden – who was inside the nearby sports shop. He was then arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and has since been bailed, to return to police on June 30th.
“We are delighted to be able to return this bike to its rightful owner,” enthused Cycle Task Force Inspector Graham Horwood. “This shows that you can increase your chances of having your lost or stolen bike returned to you, by having it registered and reporting any theft to police. We advise any cyclist to do ‘the three R’s’ – record the details of their bike, register them onto online property databases and report any theft to the police."
The cycle-dedicated team of officers are aiming to cut bike crime in London and has made over 130 arrests since its launch in June 2010. However the fight against cycle crime can also make use of social media, according to this report from the ETA.
In Boulder, Nevada, one cyclist tracked her bike down just hours after it had been stolen using Twitter and Facebook. Elaine Ellis’ neighbour had managed to take a picture of a thief stealing Ellis’ bike, which she then posted online and shared with her 3,000 Twitter followers.
Four and a half hours after the post, police arrested the thief and reunited Ellis with her bike as a result of information gleaned after her Twitter post.