In the United States, bike theft is a low risk risk crime with minimal consequences. Even when bike thieves are caught by police, it’s usually catch and release for the alleged criminal because of overcrowded jails and an overburdened justice system.
Police in Tempe, Arizona and at Arizona State University have been targeting the problem of bike theft since January. They’ve upped the ante for bike thieves by pursuing felony trafficking charges against suspects. From AZ Central:
Authorities say that, rather than considering bicycle theft to be a typical misdemeanor crime, officers from Tempe and Arizona State University police are investigating theft rings, serving search warrants to recover stolen bikes and seeking felony trafficking in stolen property charges against suspects.
“They are stealing $1,000 bikes and selling them for $150-$200,” [Tempe police spokesman Mike] Pooley said. “They are using the money to buy drugs and feed their addiction.”
Pooley urged bicycle owners, many of whom depend upon their bicycles as their primary means of transportation, to register them on the city’s website so that it would be easier for police to match stolen bicycles with their owners.
Pooley said police realize some of the bikes that investigators have recovered are stolen, but police have not been able to return them to their rightful owners because the serial numbers are not registered.
Online bike registration? What?
Did you catch that? “Register them on the city’s website…” <-- Does any other city do online bike registration? All you need is your name, address and bike description and boom you’re done. Now the question: is online bike registration and good thing or bad? Can this online registration be used as proof of ownership when the bike is recovered?
Online registration: Bad idea
What’s to prevent a thief from stealing your bike and then registering it as his own? Or worse, registering your bike and claiming you stole it?
Fort Collins has online bike registration. And you have to include your serial #.