RPS now using mobile app to return stolen bikes

Cyclists in Regina have a new way to register and report their bike stolen.

The Regina Police Service is now a part of Project 529, a strategy to deter bike thefts and help police investigate stolen bike situations.

Constable Melissa Boxall says this is a free app that anyone can access, as long as you have a valid email address. “The app is so simple to use. It walks you through and you take a picture of your handle bars or any other identifying features on the bike, if you have had a scratch or additional fancy items installed on the bike, you take a picture of the side of the bike, we get a picture of the owner with the bike and of course the serial number.”

Boxall says a service like this is very helpful because right now about 95 percent of bikes that are recovered never make it back to the owner. “And that’s simply because if your bike is stolen and you haven’t beforehand written down your serial number, and you are phoning into police to report your bike stolen and you’re saying my bike is a blue trek in this model but you don’t have the serial number, it’s really hard for us when we recover bikes to get them back to their owners.”

Chart supplied by the Regina Police Service

Project 529 also has an alert button so you can let the cycling community know when your bike has been stolen in real time and receive tips from others using the app. RPS says your personal information on the app is only accessible to you and the police, so any tips will be sent to you through your email connected to the app. Tips can also be sent to the police as well.

Boxall adds that it also connects RPS with police services in other jurisdictions. “So if my bike gets stolen here and it ends up in Vancouver and a Vancouver police officer finds it and runs the serial number, they will know it belongs to me. If each individual city just has their own data bank we don;t get to share that information, so it’s a really good tool to help us get bikes back to people.”

Project 529 was created in Vancouver in 2015. Boxall says it has since has great success in returning stolen bikes, as well as reducing bike theft.

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