October 26, 2015 4:29 pm
Updated: October 26, 2015 10:41 pm

New 529 Garage project hopes to decrease bike thefts in Vancouver

WATCH: The Vancouver Police Department has launched a new, free bike registration program. As John Daly explains, it's hoped this will help reunite stolen bikes with their rightful owners.

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More than 2,000 bicycles are reported stolen every year in Vancouver and a new project is looking to make a dent in that number.

Vancouver Police, the Vancouver Police Foundation and the City of Vancouver are partnering with Project 529; which developed a Vancouver bike registry called the 529 Garage.

“In attacking the $500-million bike theft epidemic in North America, we felt it was vital to create more than a bike registration database,” said J. Allard, founder of Project 529.

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“We wanted to create an active network of cyclists that could look out for one another and assist law enforcement with real-time alerts and easy reporting. We are thrilled to partner with Vancouver to help their community be proactive in protecting their property.”

529 Garage is a reporting and recovery network and police say bike owners who register their bikes have the best chance of getting their wheels back if it is stolen. According to the VPD, they recover hundreds of bikes, which end up in their property office, leaving officers to work on reconnecting the bikes with their owners.

As it turns out, police are only able to return about 10 per cent of the recovered bikes, since the bikes’ serial numbers and descriptions weren’t properly recorded.

“Our goal is to make Vancouver the most secure city in Canada to ride a bicycle,” said VPD Deputy Chief Constable Warren Lemcke in a statement.

“The 529 Garage registry will allow officers to quickly and efficiently recognize a stolen bicycle and get that bike back to its owner.”

Police say, a 529 Garage registered bicycle was stolen in Vancouver recently, and was returned to the owner within 36 hours of its theft.

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