Sea of bikes photo via BasL @ flickr.
This is just a make-your-day happy story, first seen yesterday on ABC. Staunch city mama Beth Harpaz and her 11-year-old son refused to just give up when a playground bully tricked him into giving up his bike and then ran off with it. Harpaz had warned her son to use a lock for his newish bike, but didn't think about such a brazen example of bike thievery. Through great detective work in a school yearbook and intrepid searching on Facebook, they found the bike thief and basically digitally strong-armed him (with a little help from one of his relatives) into disclosing the location of the stolen bike. So now that your faith is restored that a bike stolen doesn't always equal a bike lost and gone forever, click forward for other examples of social networks or digital technology aiding bike theft victims.
Social networks are helping...a little
The boom in biking means more stolen bikes, many of which subsequently end up being sold as second hand. Many police precincts don't have the resources to follow up on bike theft. So social networks have tried to fill the gap - there are online sources where you can post the info about your stolen bike, and once in awhile the bike is retrieved.
In a recent case in Santa Barbara reported in The Daily Sound, the victim of a bike theft saw his stolen cycle advertised on local Craigslist - he called the police and arranged with the 'seller' to buy back his stolen bike for $250. The police set up a sting operation and after seeing the stolen bike transfer, arrested the suspect, who admitted to stealing and then selling the bike.
Unfortunately, digital networks work both ways in bike theft - in the Santa Barbara case, the thief was advertising the bike on Craigslist and lots of other bikes were spied in his apartment - all likely stolen and being re-sold on the popular online community.
Boston, Copenhagen battle theft with technology
In Boston, Mayor Menino is touting the www.stolenbikeboston.com new web site that with real time posts to e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter will attempt to make bike recovery a bit more possible.
In Copenhagen, the city is installing (at this time for free) chips on bikes that come in for registration at different city events (the next is August 28). About 1,600 cyclists have thus far had a chip installed in their bike and all their information taken down. Around 18,000 bikes are reported stolen annually, but the city hasn't yet made a report on the number stolen since the program began and whether any have been recovered using the chip system. Via: ABC
Read more about bike theft at TreeHugger
6 Ways to Avoid Bike Theft
Three Cool RFID Projects to Deter Bike Theft
How to Prevent Bike Theft