Cycle Security - Please comment and repost amongst your friends

Chris Pipkin

Regular
Dear all,

I am a police officer in Sussex, UK and am in the process of setting up an operation to tackle cycle theft. I am looking to canvas your opinions and get some feedback as you are my target audience.

My operation is designed to mark cycles with an anti tamper tag (with QR code) provided free of charge. We take your details, register your cycle and create your account. All you need to do is report the bike stolen to us and update the database.

The aim of this project is to tackle the rising numbers of cycle theft in and around town centre locations and to be able to re unite owners with their cycles in the event of us finding them. At the moment, it is really difficult if not impossible for us to trace the owner of a cycle as most cyclists do not have the all important details - granted those of us who are interested in cycling and have a desire to look after our property will do ! If a recovered cycle is registered - we can identify the owner by scanning the code and making a call to establish its current status.

The purpose of this post is to generate discussion between cyclists as to which method you would prefer - Bike Shepherd which offers 3 ultra destructible QR tags (which disintegrate into tiny pieces taking a long time to remove) to be placed at various places (overt or covert - you decide) around your cycle as well as the registration to the database, or Bike Register which uses a single tamper proof QR sticker (non disintegrating) which would be better off being overt - as well as registration on the data base. Please look at both www.bikeshepherd.org and www.bikeregister.com to see which fits your needs best.

We are planning to offer the services free of charge at various locations across a trial area in West Sussex. If popular and the trial shows a reduction in cycle thefts, I will be looking to roll it out across the rest of the force area. I am keen to get people's views on these two schemes and welcome any feedback from people who have tried either system.

If you would like to reply - please can you let me know what you would like from such a system i.e. ability to upload photos of your cycle, interactive user account, multiple stickers? Single sticker? No sticker?, etc etc.

Thanks

Sergeant Chris Pipkin
Sussex Police.
 

byegad

Legendary Member
Location
NE England
Good idea Chris, but almost all cycles already have a code on them. The frame number is unoque to the bike. In the last 12 bikes I've owned one that didn't have this on the frame, at least it did but completely buried by the Powder Coat paint. Totally illegible.

Given that stolen bikes are rarely returned to their owner what benefit do you see in an extra mark? Or have I missed the point?
 

GrumpyGregry

Here for rides.
I'd use such a scheme willingly. Especially if I can load a picture and detailed description of the bike onto a database. I'm not sure stickers, as such, are a deterrent to bike thieves, but some sort of tagging/chipping linked to a database is a good idea if, and possibly this is a big if, Sussex Police are then going to make some effort to recover stolen bike and then reunite recovered stolen bikes with their owners. I've been told, to my face, by serving Sussex officers that bike theft isn't a priority. Perhaps this is to change.

But my impression is the bikes that get stolen from Horsham town centre, where I live, aren't nicked by professional bike thieves but by scrotes who sell them down the pub to pay for their next fix, or by sorts whose justification is that classic 21st Century excuse for all manner of numptyness "having a laugh" Thus the police won't get near the stolen bike to return it.
 

Ian Cooper

Expat Yorkshireman
In my opinion, as a cyclist who lives in a community which tags bikes using a similar system to 'Bike Register', bike theft will only be reduced by such tags if police treat bike theft seriously. In my experience, stolen bikes only get back to their rightful owners when observant citizens see them being offered for sale. I'm sorry to say it, but police, in my experience, regard bikes not as vehicles, but as toys, and therefore couldn't give a toss about bike theft. I don't see the existence of a tag, visible or tamper-proof, as being likely to change that attitude.
 

rvw

Veteran
Location
Amersham
I'd be in favour. It does require some commitment by the relevant police force.

But if the owner of a (recovered) bike can be traced with a simple scan of a code, as opposed to a lot of effort trawling through incomplete details of reported thefts, that will be a much easier task for the police, and improve their clear-up statistics. If it's that much simpler to reunite bike and owner, presumably it will actually happen more often?
 
I'd be in favour, and would sign up. I'd got for two or three 'hard to remove' stickers. That way if the police stop someone on a bike with a partially removed sticker, it could b a good reason for us to check the rest of the bike, or even think about seizing it as us stolen if things don't add up! I've also sent you a PM.
 
Location
Salford
http://www.immobilise.com

I thought that the police looked at immobilise.com on recovery of a bike? As someone else said most bicycles have a serial number and that's all that immobilise.com needs. You don't have to buy a tag to register.

All my Bicycles are registered; was I wasting my time?
 

summerdays

Cycling in the sun
Location
Bristol
I've got one of those tags down the seat tube that Avon police were handing out a couple of years ago, and also got the post-code of the shop where I bought the bike from engraved on the bottom bracket. I do know someone who had their bike returned to them via that bike shop, less than two weeks after it was stolen.

As for which system out of the two - possibly the 3 sticker system, though I'm not sure where I would put them on the bike.
 

Manonabike

Über Member
Good idea Chris, but almost all cycles already have a code on them. The frame number is unoque to the bike. In the last 12 bikes I've owned one that didn't have this on the frame, at least it did but completely buried by the Powder Coat paint. Totally illegible.

Given that stolen bikes are rarely returned to their owner what benefit do you see in an extra mark? Or have I missed the point?
A bit of practice in reading and comprehension would go a long way here I think ^_^

The clues are in mark - database - police - reunite bike with his owner.

I can imagine the problem and it's an idea worth supporting.
 

byegad

Legendary Member
Location
NE England
If one of my bikes is stolen I'd give the frame number to the police. Where is the benefit in another number? The problem is the theft of a bike isn't of the highest priority to the police and so they wouldn't circulate the frame number to other forces.

Will they circulate the mark number? If yes, why not circulate the frame number which is already there?
 
OP
Chris Pipkin

Chris Pipkin

Regular
Thanks for all your comments.

There are a number of issues that we want to try and address with this scheme - most importantly educating people on the importance of recording their bike's frame number and / or unique identifiers. We see so many people report their bike as stolen and very few (maybe 5%) know their frame numbers making it very difficult if not impossible to identify stolen bikes - some frame numbers are almost impossible to read as mentioned earlier in this thread. If we offer a scheme whereby we mark, register and record peoples frame numbers (as well as this unique identifier) and descriptions of their bike, we are then able to search the national database in the event of finding a marked bike. If it is reported stolen we can check the riders details against those registered on the website and if they don’t match - the rider has some difficult questions to answer.

We can't circulate the frame numbers of stolen bikes to other forces - there are simply too many, which is why we need to have a system whereby owners can flag the bike as stolen, that we can check it in the event of us finding a marked bike. We use the Police National Computer for cars and motorbikes - this is effectively the same for bikes. PNC is invaluable; this has the potential to be the same.

Immobilise.com is a good website, and we would advise people to register their property on it. We are able to search the database; however you have to have a police account in order to do so. By using a scheme as mentioned here - the public can search it as well so they are able to do a history check prior to buying a second hand bike (which is also useful for retailers such as cash converters who are always getting bikes seized by the Police)

I accept that bike theft is treated differently in each Police area - but it is a constant feature across the country. This is a relatively simple way, which does require some buy in by the Police, to reduce the overall amount of theft offences. For this to succeed in the long term, we need to show reductions in theft over the trial period which will in turn make the crime managers who allocate funding take notice. A similar scheme has been adopted by Transport for London and as such attracts a team of around 30 officers dedicated to cycle theft in London - there is no reason that this can't happen in other force areas.

Reduction in theft means a lower crime rate, a lower crime rate improves public confidence, and improved public confidence makes for a happier community which is surely what everyone wants.

Regards
Chris
 

Manonabike

Über Member
If one of my bikes is stolen I'd give the frame number to the police. Where is the benefit in another number? The problem is the theft of a bike isn't of the highest priority to the police and so they wouldn't circulate the frame number to other forces.

Will they circulate the mark number? If yes, why not circulate the frame number which is already there?
I think the police would like a central database where bike owners can register their bikes before they are stolen. As you said in your first post, not every single bike has a number / code, I also have a bike that has the code covered by the new paint job.. The code given by the police could have information useful to the police, ie area where the bike was registered, date of registration, etc. A database could hold information about previous owners, etc.

The important thing here would be a database where the police all over the country has access to. The mark is also important,
 

GetAGrip

What is normal anyway
Location
N Devon
Your selling it to me.
If you can provide a simple to use (for us), yet detailed data based record, of bike and owner, that could encourage police to prosecute more thieving scum as well as re-unite said bike and owner........Got to be worth everyone working together in my book! Are you looking to develop this on a national basis or just in county?
 
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