You can’t hang ‘em.
I grew up in an area, if not a time, when anyone caught stealing a horse was subject to being strung up. Often without the inconvenience of a trial.
Unfortunately, that’s not an option with bike thieves in this more enlightened age. No matter how tempting it may seem at times.
Which means we have to find other ways to fight back against one of the fastest growing crimes in the LA area.
I’ve tried to do my part by posting information on stolen bikes whenever a victim sends it to me.
But there’s often a significant delay between when the bike is stolen and when word of the theft is posted online. If I hear about it at all.
I’ve long wanted a way for bike owners to post a notice of their stolen bikes themselves in order to get the information out there as quickly as possible.
Thanks to Bike Index, that day is finally here.
The crowd funded, open source bike registry has partnered with bike advocacy groups and websites throughout the country to provide free online bike registration, as well as a way to report bike thefts so local residents and businesses can be on the lookout. And maybe even get those bikes back.
Now it’s our turn.
If you look at the tabs at the top of this page, you’ll now see links to Register Your Bike, Report A Stolen Bike, and Stolen Bike Listings.
Click on the first, and you’ll be taken to a form where you can record the identifying details of your bike in a free online database. So you’ll have the information when and if you need it, and police, bike shops, pawn shops and individual buyers can check to make sure any bike is legit, no matter where it turns up.
Even if you don’t know it’s missing.
In fact, police often say registering your bike is the single most important step you can take to help get it back if it’s ever stolen.
Then, in the unfortunate event someone does snatch your bike, you can post news of the theft on the Report A Stolen Bike tab.
Your bike will be entered in a national database of stolen bikes, which can be accessed by anyone anywhere in the country — or the world, for that matter — and help bring it back home wherever it may turn up. And an alert will immediately go out on both the BikinginLA Twitter and Facebook accounts so the bike community can be on the lookout for your ride, increasing the chance of recovery.
Finally, it will automatically be entered in the local Stolen Bike Listings, enabling anyone to check an exclusive LA area database to see if a bike was stolen, or to keep an eye out for missing bikes. Right now, it’s set to cover a 20-mile radius from the Hollywood area; that may be adjusted up or down as we work out the bugs.
Of course, Bike Index isn’t the only bike registration program; you can also register your bike with Bike Shepherd and the National Bike Registry, among others.
The important thing is that you register your bike, whether here or somewhere else.
And that you report it to the police, then post it here, if anyone takes it.
Just to be clear, there is no financial relationship or any other form of compensation between Bike Index and BikinginLA. Bike Index has provided the WordPress plug-ins that allows free online registration and theft reporting, as well the listing of stolen bikes, at no charge in order to help fulfill their mission of helping theft victims get their bikes back. And I accepted their offer for the same reason.