Saskatoon police are hoping citizens will help them catch bike thieves with a new database.
Bicycle owners will be invited to enter their bike’s information into a new online registry, which police can check.
Sgt. Keith Meckelborg of the police bike unit told 650 CKOM it could dramatically increase how many stolen bikes are returned to their owners.
“The hope is with the collection of precise information … that moving forward if the unfortunate day comes when a bike does get stolen, we now have all that information,” he said.
“The only thing we have to do now is find the person.”
He said the registry will be part of the “#GetYourBikeBack” campaign, using brochures and wallet-sized cards to encourage bicycle owners to record identifying information for their bikes.
The material will be distributed to retailers, repair shops and bike valets to help promote the campaign.
Police will ask for the make, model, size and colour of the bike, along with a specific serial number.
“If you want to forget about it after you write it down, that’s fine,” Meckelborg said. “We’ll take care of the rest.”
Meckelborg noted currently it’s difficult for officers to determine whether a bike is stolen because there’s nothing to check it against.
Many owners don’t get their bicycles back because they can’t remember the important information.
“I’d be surprised if we manage one or two per cent,” Meckelborg said of the return rate, giving his personal estimate.
The information is easy to find though.
“You may have to clean some of the dirt off, but it’s always somewhere on the frame,” he said.
Meckelborg added the registry idea isn’t original, having been deployed in several major cities across Canada.
Those cities have seen a slight drop in bicycle thefts because of the increased chance of being caught, he said.
DRUG TRADE FUELLING THEFTS
Saskatoon police said Thursday 303 bikes were stolen in the city since May alone.
Meckelborg said bicycles are often easy targets and can be used on Saskatoon’s black market.
“We’ve formed the belief they’re being used as a type of currency in the drug trade,” he said.
“The numbers of stolen bikes are really starting to show that.”
He advises bicycle owners to ensure they’re using locks that make thieves work hard since it discourages them.
Locks using a combination of wire and U-locks, heavy-duty chains and “flat locks,” which employ large steel bars.
Meckelborg said people shouldn’t worry too much about price if they want to protect their bike.
“If you’re buying a cheap lock, you get cheap results.”
The new bicycle registry is expected to come online by July 14.