Montreal police try to curb bike theft numbers with ID engraving program
Over the years, Projet Numéro has meant more stolen bikes can be returned to their rightful owners
With an estimated 20,000 bikes stolen each year in Montreal, the SPVM says its ID engraving program is helping to return more and more of them to grateful owners.
For more than five years, the Montreal police service's Projet Numéro has offered free ID number engraving in an effort to help reunite cyclists with their bicycles after a bike has been stolen.
With pop-up sites throughout the summer and most stations offering the service, citizens can get their bike officially registered and stickered.
"It's also a way for us to reach people, to give them a lot of information regarding safety on the road," says Ann-Nathalie Côté, an officer with Station 11.
"It's a shared responsibility, so we want cyclists to be responsible."
When a bicycle has been stolen from a citizen with an engraved ID number, that person must report it to the local police station.
If the bike is recovered, police can identify the owner by that number.
Stolen bikes in the city
Keeping track of just how many bikes are stolen in the city isn't easy. Police say only one in 10 thefts is actually reported, which equates to about 2,000 per year.
That means the actual number of stolen bikes could be as high as 20,000.
But of the bicycles stolen, the SPVM says only about two per cent of those recovered get back to their owners.
"Police now — instead of having a big bike sale at the end of the summer because they can't find the owners of these bicycles — they're able to return their bicycles to their owners," said Joseph Lambert from Tandem CDN-NDG, an organization that teams up with the SPVM for the program.