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Stolen bike listings

Posted by on September 13th, 2005 at 11:06 pm

After tons of response and some good feedback from my recent post on bike theft, I’d like to announce Stolen Bike Listings here on BikePortland.org. This will be a community-driven effort. Here’s how it will work (hopefully):

  • Your bike gets stolen (sorry).
  • You visit this site and click “Register” on the right sidebar.
  • Once logged in, you create a post about your bike and when finished click “save as draft”. (just ignore “Post Password”)
  • Then you go to “Upload” if you have an image you’d like to add.
  • Once the image is uploaded, return to your post and insert the image URL and click “save as draft”.
  • When I log-in as the adminstrator, I’ll see your post. I’ll glance at it, make sure it’s porn/spam free, and hit “publish”. That’s it.

Here are some reasons why this just might work:

  • Other sites will be able to display the RSS feed of the stolen bike category.
  • Anyone can leave comments below each listing if they need more information or perhaps have a tip as to its whereabouts.
  • BikePortland.org is visited by hundreds of Portland cyclists everyday that are out there on the streets ready to spot your beloved steed.
  • The Stolen Bike Listings page can evolve into a trove of local wisdom and tips about how to fight the growing scourge of bike theft.
  • Local shops that sell used bikes can check this site to make sure they’re not dealing with stolen goods.

I have added the first listing. Check it out.

This is an evolving effort and I rely on feedback and insights from you to make it better. Also, please be forgiving as I tweak things here and there to make this all work just right. And remember, the more people that know about this, the more listings we’ll get and the more bikes we’ll recover. So if you like the idea, feel free to spread the word.

So, anyone had a bike stolen recently?

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Comments
  • Kent September 14, 2005 at 8:09 am

    I think something like this would be even more useful if you could figure out a way to coordinate with the various metro-area police departments. It’s obviously not enough to just deal with the PPD. Perhaps some sort of regional clearing house or registry for bike thefts that is organized into a searchable database. That way, for example, if a cop or anyone else retrives an unclaimed bike they can just log-on and search for say…red specialized stumpjumpers and pull up the photos for any matching listings. I don’t know how the police do it now, but I suspect it isn’t very high-tech or efficient. This sort of stolen bike database won’t really accomplish much unless you can get the cops to buy off on the concept and more importantly, use it.

    Personally, I think the only way to really deal with bike theft is to have a better licensing system with tamper-proof stickers so that each bike can be readily identified and stolen bikes with removed or altered registration stickers are easy to identify.

    To change the subject slightly. Can anyone explain how the stolen bike market works? I understand the stolen car market. Stolen cars are generally stripped for parts in chop shops because brand-name replacment parts are so expensive. But what happens to all the bikes that are stolen by the professional bike thief rings? Do they strip them for parts? Ship them out of state for sale as-is? How does this market work? Obviously it must work somehow or they wouldn’t be so brazen and professinal about it.

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  • Jonathan Maus September 14, 2005 at 8:42 am

    Kent:
    Good points. I realize my little solution isn’t ideal or comprehensive. The thinking behind it is that it is quick, simple and cheap. Partnering up with Police bureaus is a great idea, but who has the time to take this on? I don’t.

    Actually, all they’d have to do is subscribe to the RSS feed of the Stolen Bike category and have an office assistant catalog the information on their side.

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  • Kent September 14, 2005 at 9:27 am

    Sounds like a project that could benefit from some community policing grant money. Are there grants available for this sort of thing? An under-employed database and web designer type of person could probably put together a pretty slick package if they could get some grant funding to do the work and hosting space on one of the city computers. It’s not just the programming work. Someone would need to do the outreach to all the local police agencies as well as all the local bike shops and anyone else who should be engaged.

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  • Michael September 14, 2005 at 10:00 am

    By coincidence, I happen to be meeting with someone from the police department today who is involved with the bike patrols. I would assume he is not ultimately the right person to talk to within the bureau on this, but I will ask him if he has any ideas on a way to proceed.

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  • Kevin September 14, 2005 at 10:03 pm

    See also the National Bike Registry.

    * Submit bike serial number to NBR along with a small fee. (Costs more than a tube, less than a lock.)
    * Get bike stolen.
    * Hopefully, get bike found by police.
    * Police check with NBR and find your contact information.

    BTA has an affilite link with the NBR, so if you register through here they get some kickback.

    Some locks also come with guarantees if you can demonstrate the lock was comprimised in the theft, but these are unfortunately short-lived. IIRC, the coverage on my Kryptonite is one year, and could be three years if I gave them even more money. You have to sign up for that though — you can’t wait until after someone saws through your lock to ask Kryptonite to buy you a new bike.

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  • [...] And please spread the word about the Stolen Bike Listings. This is already the second time (here’s the first) my listings have been part of a recovery. And remember to check the listings before buying a used bike. [...]

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