According to Facebook, the group Stolen Bikes of Windsor publishes approximately 6 posts a day. Bike theft is rampant in Windsor. And yet these thefts don’t make the news unless the situation is particularly damning.

For this post, I’m not going to go into the factors that make bike thievery essentially a risk-free crime, but instead highlight a community response to the problem from Bike Windsor Essex.

Windsor Police recommends registering your bike with their service although there have concerns have been raised in the past that the registry is not being employed by the Police as it should. If you belong to the University of Windsor, Campus Police employs a similar registry service.

I am going to recommend a third service to register your bike with: Project 529 Garage which bills itself as “the world’s largest community-powered bike recovery service.” And advocates say that the program works:

Yes! 529 Garage has already been rolled out in many cities and has a proven track record. Rates of bike theft are substantially reduced, and the likelihood that a stolen bike comes home increases dramatically. In Vancouver, bike thefts dropped by 30% in just 2 years. On Granville Island, when combined with other theft-deterrent measures, bike theft dropped by 70%. Over 2 years, Whistler has seen a 57% drop in rates of bike theft. Bikes are now routinely returned to owners in all cities that have an active 529 Garage system in place.

“529 Garage: End Bike Theft” Bike Ottawa

It’s free to register your bike for free using the 529 Garage App or website. But with the purchase of a Project 529 Shield (which comes free with membership with Bike Windsor Essex) there are additional services that you will be able to use.

One such feature allows you to release photos and a description of your bike once you report your bike stolen. Once you do so, nearby Project 529 users (who opt in for the service) will be alerted to be on the lookout for your stolen bike.

The Ottawa Police now use 529 Garage as their official Bike Registry Service. It would be great if Windsor’s Police considered doing the same.

Since living in Windsor, I have had three bikes stolen. Maybe when my fourth gets taken, I might actually get it back.