For the first time, Spokane’s online bicycle registry has been used to reunite a bike with its owner.
An employee at Manito Park found a bike Monday and contacted the Spokane Police Department. The bike hadn’t been reported stolen, so police turned to SpokaneBikeID.org, which linked the bike to its owner, Cpl. Jordan Ferguson said.
Using the online tool, owners are asked to enter their bike’s serial number, brand, color and size, as well as a photo of the bike. If the bike is stolen and turns up in police possession, it will be returned.
The registry contains information for 1,146 bike owners, and nearly 350 of them have logged their information since the registry moved online in May, city spokesman Brian Coddington said. The information previously was maintained on paper by the volunteer Community Oriented Policing Services program.
The owner who retrieved his bike Monday logged his information only a week before, Coddington said.
About half of all cyclists have had their bikes stolen, according to a recent study in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, and only 2.4 percent of stolen bikes are returned to their owners.
In Spokane, property crime is notoriously high. In 2013, the latest year FBI statistics are available, Spokane’s property crime rate was higher than all but two of the 180 or so towns and cities in Washington. Spokane police have said about 50 bicycles end up in the police evidence and property room every month.
Ferguson said it’s far more likely a stolen bike will be returned if the owner reports it stolen.
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