Website a useful tool in combatting bike theft

Tasmanian Police and Crimestoppers have joined forces to launch the Bikelinc website to help Tasmanian bike owners combat theft.

The website was first established by Western Australian Police and Crimestoppers in 2019, joined by the ACT in 2020 and now Tasmania.

The site works by bike owners creating an entry for their bike that includes photos and serial numbers. The entries then sit on the site out of public view and can be quickly activated if a bike is stolen.

Putting up photos of customisation is particularly important to differentiate your bike from other bikes of the same model. If you’ve put on a new saddle, changed the handlebars or added mudguards, take photos of all these elements and add them to your gallery.

Once a bike is listed as stolen on the site Tasmanian police officers can immediately see the listing and use it to check bikes they come across, and members of the public can also see the entry if they search for the frame serial number.

This is a similar setup to the Bike Vault website which has been around for several years and operates across multiple states.

The Bikelinc site can be accessed directly by police officers rather than going through a third party. This is useful if they come across someone they suspect is in possession of stolen property as they can check the bike’s status straight away.

If you are a belt-and-braces person, then listing your bike on both sites may increase the chance of recovery if stolen.

You can also use the site to search a serial number of a bike to check whether it’s been listed as stolen or not. This is handy when buying a second-hand bike as looking for the serial number will also alert you to whether the serial number is intact or it’s been tampered with, which could also indicate a stolen bike even if it’s not listed.

Bicycle Network played a role in Tasmania’s inclusion in Bikelinc as we heard about the Western Australia site and arranged a local briefing with police and Crimestoppers. The Tasmanian Crimestoppers and Police were keen to follow up the West Australian experience and have been working hard since on all the ‘back-end” issues.

More than half of the Tasmanian households surveyed in the 2021 national cycling survey said they owned one or more bicycles, which if extrapolated wound mean hundreds of thousands of bikes in the state.

With the increased interest in mountain biking and the greater uptake of e-bikes, there are more high-value bikes around creating more incentive for thieves.

Creating your own entry on Bikelinc is quick and easy. Just make sure you have low-res photos of your bike, the serial number and any other supporting information you want to include such as the purchase receipt.