Police are working on a modern approach to tracking bike thefts after an unprecedented rise in bicycle thefts in Penticton.
Penticton RCMP media spokesperson Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth said that bike thefts are up 300 per cent in Penticton in 2016.
“This year is way higher than ever before, three times as high,” Wrigglesworth said.
Penticton police are looking for financial support for a program similar to the Vancouver Police Department’s Log It or Lose It. The Vancouver program teamed up police with Project 529, a bike registry app for smartphones. The free app helps bicycle owners register their bicycle and serial number, which is invaluable when returning stolen property to its owner.
“People aren’t recording serial numbers, they’re not taking photos of their bikes and it’s so frustrating because there is a population of people in this town that survive off theft and property crime,” Wrigglesworth said. “A police officer who sees people on a high-end bicycle, knowing that they have not been gainfully employed for the year, five years or 10 years — I’ve personally known them, know that they would not be able to afford it, or if they had the money would not choose to spend it on a bicycle.”
Despite the likelihood that a police officer knows a bike is stolen, it becomes difficult to prove and recover when owners don’t report their serial number.
“I cannot just steal back a stolen bike, unless I have evidence to prove that it actually is stolen,” Wrigglesworth said.
Until the program rolls out, the standard tips for keeping your bike safe still apply. Police advise taking bikes inside if possible, as bolt cutters can cut through locks in short order. Record your serial number, either by writing it down or taking a photo, as well as taking a photo of your bike to keep on record.
“I can get bikes back when we know about them. Report them to us,” Wrigglesworth said.