When the Santa Cruz police department recover a bicycle from one of our local ne-er-do-wells, they try to reconnect the property with its rightful owner. Since nobody ever reports their stolen bikes or register their bikes, however, the bikes sit in the police warehouse for 90 days until they’re disposed of or donated.
The police collect so many bikes with unidentified owners, however, that they have to dump them into the overflow storage area.
But even that’s not enough, and they overflow out into the parking lot.
Santa Cruz police say they have recovered over 500 bicycles this year, most of which cannot be reunited with the owner because nobody registers their bikes or reports them stolen. When they are reported stolen, nobody had bothered to look up the serial number until it’s too late!
The simple takeaway: Record a good description of your bicycle(s), including (especially!) the serial number, and keep it in a safe place! Flop your bicycle over, clean the grime from the numbers inscribed on the bottom of the frame between the pedal cranks, take a picture of those numbers and email that photo to yourself. Do not publish your serial numbers; keep it private, because I’ve heard some miscreants will take that serial number, file a stolen bike report, and then claim that bike belongs to them!
The Santa Cruz police have some more interesting information about their experience with bike thefts over at their blog.