The Edmonton Police Service has introduced a new program meant to make it easier for bicycle owners to find lost or stolen bikes.
Officers partnered with not-for-profit group Bike Index for the project. The idea was launched after 1,021 bikes were sent to auction in 2018 because police couldn’t identify the owners.
Bike owners create a free account online containing details of the model, manufacturer, colour and year of their bike.
If the bike is lost or stolen and police find it, they can check the registry for the owner’s contact information. Alternatively, owners can use the program to prove ownership of the bike.
“We’ve built these tools to increase bike recovery rate, and we’re excited to provide these services to a department that has an interest in supporting their cycling community,” Bike Index communications director Lily Williams said in a statement.
There are also stickers available for owners. Police compare them to a licence plate. Once placed on a bike, a scannable QR code will allow people to quickly find the owner of the bike.
Stickers are available for free from EPS front counters and at participating bicycle shops.
Officials said they believe the stickers will deter thefts.
“We are proud to lead our city into a future that will hopefully see a noticeable decrease in bike theft and we want to thank Bike Index for partnering with us to make it happen,” Const. Kenny McKinnon said in a statement.
Edmonton police have distributed stickers and brochures to local bike shops explaining the new program.
In the first six months of 2019, there have been 237 bicycles reported stolen in Edmonton. In 2018, 1,530 were reported stolen and only 50 of those were recovered.
Watch below: Tips to protect your bike from being stolen in Edmonton