Bike theft is a national problem that affects thousands of people annually. Bike thieves have figured out how to break some of the most advanced locks and have no qualms about selling the bike to a person in the same neighborhood from which it was stolen. Unfortunately, selling stolen bikes has become easier with the popularity of sites like eBay and Craigslist. These sites do not provide any way of checking to make sure that a bike is not stolen property prior to being sold.
Fortunately, the National Bike Registry, or NBR, exists. This group has been making a concerted effort at preventing bike theft via registration since 1984. The group provides an easy to use system which allows a bike owner to register his or her bike. In exchange, the owner gets a label for his or her bike. This label is designed to deter theft and allow police everywhere to identify the bike simply by running its numbers.
While a label might not sound like an efficient way of preventing theft, it does help. Bike thieves are less likely to steal bikes that are registered as they can be recognized as being registered. It is only too easy for people to run the registration numbers to determine to whom the bike actually belongs.
The National Bike Registry is dedicated to identifying and returning stolen bikes and scooters to their rightful owners. Every year, more than 48% of all stolen bikes are recovered by police at some point. Unfortunately, only 5% are returned to their owners. A lot of this is due to bikes not having a way of checking to whom they belong. A stolen car has license plates and a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Bikes do not. So, the majority of recovered stolen bikes end up at a police auction while their owners mourn the loss.
The NBR has created a computer database which is dedicated to bicycle registrations. It is free for all law enforcement officials to search. What’s better is that the program actually works. Every time, so they say, the police recover a registered stolen bike, the bike has been traced to its owner and returned.
Since 1984, the NBR has worked to establish a network of coast-to-coast police departments who are trained to look for the NBR label on bikes.
The National Bike Registry was purchased by BoomerangIt, Inc. in 1999 and since then has seen significant upgrades to its label and database technologies.