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Registration & Management
Registration and management schemes are important in the way they can help successfully reduce bike crime and help control on-street bike parking activity.
Most registration programmmes offer a way for the legitimate owner of 'lost' or stolen bikes, to mark and identify their property. Such schemes are important to effective policing, and the reduction of bike theft, because they allow the police to monitor stolen property and can aid police in catching thieves that steal registered bikes. For example, when they stop individuals they believe are using, or in possession of, stolen bikes, the registration number can help 'prove' who the bike belongs to and makes it harder for thieves getting away with their crimes. Further, they can prevent thieves reselling stolen bikes on the street, or over the internet, because responsible consumers can check registration numbers against 'stolen bike indexes' to ensure they are not being sold stolen goods. Without efficient registration schemes, a thief’s work is far easier and even good police work can struggle to achieve criminal convictions or locate legitimate owners.
Effective cycle registration schemes almost invariably involve a database of ‘user’ (personal) details linked to the details of their registered bicycle, and usually employ one or more of the following strategies to mark the bike itself: Overt Marking or Covert Marking plus either a Manual Tag or Electronic Tag. Some form part of larger databases for owners to register different goods, such as electronic items and other valuables, such as Immobilise (UK), while other schemes are exclusively designed for cycles, such as Bicitronic (Spain).
The way in which such schemes are implemented and managed in the national (and international) context will be linked to how successful registration schemes are. This section investigates a selection of key bike registration schemes in operation and how well they work in practice.
Examples of other kinds of management scheme, linked to cycle security and cycle parking include schemes initiated by local authorities or private entities to identify owners of ‘abandoned’ bikes, often found parked, or left on-street, for unusually long periods, or in inappropriate locations (eg locked to someone else’s private property). In some cases this involves stickering or removal of bikes after a given period. In the case of the AFAC (Amsterdam) example, bikes are removed to a processing centre, where, if claimed, they are then registered before being released.