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SPVM partners with Garage 529 database to help prevent bike thefts

By Sacha Obas

MONTREAL – Montreal police are partnering with an online database in an effort to help lower the number of bikes stolen each year.

Over the last decade, over 2,000 bikes per year are reported stolen in the city.

The SPVM has linked up with Garage 529, a continent-wide database for cyclists to register and report stolen bikes.

“We’re talking about 2000 bike thefts a year but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. And we’ve all had a bike stolen. And the problem is if you get your bike stolen once or twice you might not get a third one,” said Velo Quebec program director Magali Bebronne.

Bike owners “park” their bike in a virtual lot by registering its serial number and then upload pictures of their bike to Garage 529 app.

If one is reported stolen, all app users are alerted and asked to be on the lookout.

Bebronne says this can help out greatly when a bike is stolen, because usually when a bike is reported missing there’s no picture or serial number.

The added details stored in the app will help investigators track the bike down.

“For the most part, organized bike thieves would take a bike in a city and bring it to another city so it would be less likely that someone to search on a local website for their stolen good. Where now, you have this system across several big Canadian cities, so now it’s making it even harder for people who would go to this extent to resell bikes,” said Bebronne.

“And we are hearing that maybe Quebec City is interested in implementing this system, Gatineau, maybe, as well. Montreal is the first, Quebec City, but it is definitely not the last one.”

In a statement to CityNews, Commander Steve Girard of the SPVM said all officers who’ve used the app before appreciated how easy it is to use and how effective it is in preventing bike thefts.

He says the platform will not only allow detectives to gain valuable information, but it will also help them return stolen bikes to their rightful owners after they’ve been found.

“I had seen that somebody reported a stolen bike, I saw somebody with that bike in the street, called the police and the rightful owner was able to recover their bike,” said Bebronne.

Girard added even if you use the app, it’s still important to report any bike thefts to the police.

The new partnership is exciting news to cyclist Jad Abukasm.

“People really get attached to their bikes own bikes and I wouldn’t want my bike to get stolen. I would really be sad,” Abudkasm told CityNews.

“And having this much more safety around your own bike. I think it would actually make a difference but again it all depends on how respondent individuals are going to be actually looking out for bikes whenever you’re is going to get stolen.”

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