Friday, October 14, 2011

Philadelphia Stolen Bikes and a Facebook Solution

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In 2010 as a response to the on going problems with bike theft in Philadelphia a Facebook page was created where people could post stolen bikes in the hopes of recovering them, Philadelphia Stolen Bikes. Reading through many of the posts it seems that they have had success in recovering stolen bicycles, where the thefts have been happening, stolen bicycles that have been sighted, and the possible neighborhoods bicycle thieves live in.

With populations that change apartments, many of Philadelphia's neighborhoods intimidated by criminals, and the “no snitching” culture; quality of life crimes have become an acceptable part of a neighborhood. In the past this would have been a community effort as neighbors who knew neighbors and talked amongst themselves to prevent these crimes or identify the people who commit them. An interesting phenomena that has occurred with the Internet and the development of social websites. The creation of new communities within Philadelphia based on a common interest, in this case stolen bicycles. This a growing trend as documented by the Wall Street Journal and I am glad to see that it has reached Philadelphia.

There are some steps that you can take to make recovery of your bicycle goes smoothly in the vent it is found.
1.     Take a picture of your bicycle and a picture of you with the bicycle. You'll need to do this to document ownership.
2.     Write down the serial number of your bicycle and take a picture of it. The serial number can usually be found on the bottom bracket. If you can't find have your local bike shop show you where it is. This will also help you document ownership
3.     File a police report. Yes I know the police are not going to be terribly sympathetic, by having the theft on record makes it harder for a thief to claim they own or found the bike.
4.     Alert friends and coworkers who live in the city, regularly search E-Bay and Craigslist, talk to local bike shops, and post to the Philadelphia Stolen Bikes Facebook page.

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