March 6, 2014

"I never give up hope of recovering a bike"

As I was writing "Bike Registration Sunday—local edition," I found myself wondering about the effectiveness of local bike registries. Unable to turn up via Google any relevant statistics, I decided to instead reach out to the police lieutenant in charge of the Arlington County (Virginia) Police Department's bicycle registration program, Heather Hurlock.

[commentary in brackets]

BTB: Can you quote me any statistics (or report any anecdotes) that communicate the effectiveness of the Arlington bike registration program?

HH: Happy to. Registration is running yearly around 890 – 1000. Registered bikes do not seem to get stolen, although maybe 5 or 6 a year may be taken because the owner neglected to use a U-lock [that would be me] or just was careless. Since I handle the Recovered Bicycle Program also, I have been fortunate in recovering several of these bikes thanks to residents being aware of the program. The oldest bike returned with an ACPD decal on it had been stolen 10 years prior [!]. It was recovered by Alexandria PD in good working order. I never give up hope of recovering a bike. I have promoted mandatory registration in the condos and apartments and those adopting the program have shown a decrease in larcenies; in some cases, no larcenies for a couple of years. During the summer registration is promoted aggressively by stapling notices on bikes stating "Use a U-lock and register." [I'm thinking about doing something like this to simultaneously promote both BTB and proper bike security. Post to follow.] I have received calls from around the country from those who are registered with ACPD and have moved and had their bikes stolen. The benefit – I have the information they need to aid in recovering their bike. All those who work in Arlington are welcome to register with the Arlington County Police Department. [DO IT.] And one more note: It appears that larcenies are down and it may be that the last offender was given a 12 year sentence [BTB covered that].

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