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Calgary police partner with Bike Index to help return stolen items to owners

A Calgary couple cycle downtown during the noon hour on Wednesday.
A Calgary couple cycle downtown during the noon hour on Wednesday. Loren Andreae / Global News

Calgary police are looking to better address a common crime in the city.

Officials said bike thefts have been on the rise over the last few years. On Friday, the Calgary Police Service announced it will partner up with Bike Index, a free online registration service, to help reunite owners with their stolen property.

“Bike thefts in Calgary have always been an issue, however, we have seen a growing trend of this crime in our city in the last few years,” Const. Brennan Vanderwater said in a news release Friday.

“We wanted to see what we could do to address the issue and better support victims. We hope that by partnering with Bike Index we will be able to return more recovered bikes back to Calgarians.”

Read more: Number of bikes stolen in Calgary on the rise in 2019

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Since 2015, police said on average, just shy of 3,000 bikes are stolen each year, however, only 12 per cent of those bikes are recovered and returned to their owners.

In hopes of increasing that return rate, in 2019, police began a pilot project with Bike Index and have already seen promising results.

“Officers from the pilot project saw successes with Bike Index almost immediately,” Vanderwater said.

“In May 2020 alone, we returned over $12,000 worth of bikes to Calgarians.”

Now police are looking to make the partnership a permanent fixture in the city.

Read more: Calgary bike shops see supply shortage as sales soar amid COVID-19 pandemic

For a bicycle to be returned, the owner must have the item’s serial number recorded — it’s a step that police said often escapes many residents.

With Bike Index, owners can instead register their items with the online service to avoid forgetting or misplacing the serial number. According to the organization, registered users can also pick up a sticker from their local CPS attachment that can help deter thieves.

Police added that while registering bikes with the service can help to recover stolen items, thefts should still be reported to authorities.

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