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Stolen bike listings creator gets commendation from Portland Police Bureau

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 10th, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Bryan Hance has helped the PPB
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.

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Comments
  • K'Tesh September 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Nice Job! Congrats!

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Burk September 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Nice! It's guys like this that make this city so awesome.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • John Lascurettes September 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Bravo and well deserved.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • staborrez September 11, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Well deserved, great service and support for the community.

    Not too long ago I used it to reunite a stolen bike and it's owner. Someone listed it on CL cause they bought a bike for a few bucks knowing it was stolen from someone on the street and was looking for the owner of it.

    I saw the CL listing and used the database to contact them both. Shortly after bike and owner were reunited. I don't remember what the bike was, but turns out it was a locally hand built ride.

    I know this wouldn't have happened without the database.

    Congratulations once again

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • rg September 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I hope I never need to make use of the Registry, but I applaud Bryan for making it more effective. We cyclists should buy him a beer at every opportunity!

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • bhance September 12, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Just finally popping in here to say a) aw, shucks and b) a HUGE thanks to the PPB and everyone who has supported the SBR over the years. :) Thanks to everyone who uses the registry and helps fight the unrelenting scourge of bike thieves!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

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