Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 10th, 2012 at 12:22 pm
get better at catching bike thieves.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Southeast Portland resident Bryan Hance has received a "Distinguished Service Medal" from the Portland Police Bureau. Hance is the man behind StolenBicycleRegsitry.com. Back in 2009 he stepped in to resurrect the Stolen Bike Listings on BikePortland and shortly thereafter we linked him up with the Portland Police Bureau. Over the past few years, Hance has worked with the PPB to beam local stolen bike data into the on-board computers of police cars.
Last week, at a ceremony at David Douglas High Shool, the PPB honored Hance as well as other officers and community members for their service to the public.
By day, Hance is a database programmer and web expert. But his true passion is to use his software skills to foil bike thieves. As his popular "Death to Bike Thieves" sticker makes blatantly clear, Hance wants to rid the earth of the lowly criminal that would steal someone's wheels.
"The result has been many additional cases of happy reunions between bicycles and owners," adds the PPB, "and many more unhappy rides to jail for thieves."— From a PPB press release
After having several of his own bikes stolen, Hance launched StolenBicycleRegistry.com in 2005. It's a free service that allows anyone to list the details, a photo, and serial number of their stolen bike. The info is published online and easily searched by prospective used bike buyers and suspicious bike shop employees all over the country. When a suspicious bike comes up, Hance's listings make it much more likely that you can determine whether or not the bike is stolen. It's hard to keep an exact tally, but just in the few years I've worked with Hance, we've recovered dozens and dozens of bikes.
In a press release, the PPB said that Hances' work, "... is crime prevention crowd-sourcing at its best."
For the PPB, Bryan tweaked his database to create a special listings page that matches the specific needs of officers and the computers in their patrol cars. In 2011, all Portland officers were trained how to use it. In the past, officers had to rely solely on a bikes serial number to try and determine if it was stolen, "But with Bryan's database," says the PPB, "they can now quickly and easily compare other characteristics such as make, model, color and markings."
"The result has been many additional cases of happy reunions between bicycles and owners," adds the PPB, "and many more unhappy rides to jail for thieves."
Congratulations Bryan! Thanks for all your help with the listings and for reuniting so many people with their beloved bikes.