Police take in hundreds of stolen bikes each year, but a new four-way partnership could help combat bicycle thefts in Nanaimo and get more stolen bikes returned to their owners.
Nanaimo RCMP, the city and Nanaimo and District Crime Stoppers have teamed up to erect signs promoting free bicycle registration on the 529 Garage app.
Crime Stoppers funded the program for the city to install dozens of 529 Garage signs along the E&N and Parkway trails, at Westwood Lake, Beban Park and other key cycling locations.
The signs promote registration with 529 Garage, which is free and takes about five minutes. Stolen bikes received by police that are registered on 529 Garage are checked against the 529 Garage registry.
“The end result is people are getting their stolen bikes returned to them,” said Dave Cusson, Nanaimo RCMP community policing coordinator, in a press release.
Cyclists just have to scan the QR code on the signs with their smart phones, which will connect them directly to the registration page online. Registrants then use their smart phone cameras to photograph their bikes. The app also captures pertinent information about the bike, such as make, model and serial number. Should the bike be stolen, the owner can flag 529 Garage, which will alert bike owners in the area and the owner will also have necessary information for police when filing a theft report. 529 Garage anti-theft decals can also be purchased through the app website. The decals, which are extremely difficult to remove, warn potential thieves, police or anyone who finds a missing bike that it is registered with the program.
529 Garage has become the world’s largest bike registry and was adopted by Nanaimo RCMP in 2016.
“The word on the street is bike thieves have no interest in stealing bikes which display the 529 Garage shield,” Cusson said. “That tells us the program is working. Hopefully, these colourful signs will draw more and more bike enthusiasts to the app and take the five minutes and register their bike.”
For more information about 529 Garage, visit https://project529.com/garage.