A number of weeks ago I had my bicycle stolen and managed to find it for sale on Craigslist. I was going to set up a sting operation with the Vancouver Police Department, but timing was not on my side since I was destined for Las Vegas for my birthday. But I did start thinking about bicycle thievery and the bigger picture.
First of all, the primary reason that bicycles are stolen is because people buy stolen bicycles. In my heart of hearts I believe that the average person would not buy a stolen bike. I also believe that, unfortunately, the average person would not perform due diligence to ensure that the bicycle was not stolen. It eases one’s conscience in the event that they find a great deal. It follows with the old saying, “Doors are locked to keep honest people out.”
There is a very simple way to drastically reduce the number of bicycles that are stolen each year. The great thing is, it can be done by a handful of people. It involves just one simple step by sellers and another by the buyers.
If you have a bicycle to sell, you simply put the serial number for the bike in the ad . If you think that this may jeopardize the security of your property you can just not include the last two digits. If it’s a child’s bike and there isn’t a serial number, use your phone number. In fact this can be done with many things that would be sold on community boards like Craigslist.
Obviously if the number was filed off you may want to reconsider buying the bicycle.
If you are looking for a bicycle and perusing the for sale section, you have one simple responsibility. Flag the ad if there is no serial number or phone number. If everyone participates, the stolen bikes will be removed, along with the legitimate listings but honest ones will be reposted with serial numbers or phone numbers. If there is an outcry of people angry that their ad was flagged, point them in this direction. I guarantee, in time, there will be virtually no stolen bikes for sale and better yet, fewer bicycles will be stolen.
I am going to spread the word on this idea in my local community. I may even post it to Craigslist. Hopefully those profiting from stolen bicycles won’t flag it, although there are many other forms of social media.
Share this blog with your friends … be the change.
Please make a posting similar to this in the bicycles for sale by owner section in your city.