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Outsmart thieves, register bicycles

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Many Parkites own bicycles that are worth into the thousands of dollars.

And some lose their bikes to thieves.

The Park City Police Department, in an effort to protect bicycle owners, has revived a registration program meant to make tracking bikes easier.

The program, which is free, offers the owners a chance to file paperwork with the Police Department. The authorities will then have information that could help investigators find stolen bikes.

Bill Morris, a Police Department sergeant, says nobody had registered their bicycles by the middle of the week. The program, however, recently restarted after it was largely dormant for some time, and the renewed efforts have not been widely publicized.

"The whole idea is to get as many people as possible to register," Morris says.

The Police Department collects information such as the owner’s name and contact information, the bicycle’s serial number and its make and model. The police intend to create a database with the information.

Owners are given small decals to attach to their bicycles. If a registered bicycle is stolen, the Police Department have more information about it than they normally would.

Morris says the Police Department has 1,000 decals, and he hopes the department registers 1,000 bicycles. More decals could be ordered if the police run out.

Under the older program, the Police Department registered about 75 bicycles. Morris is unsure when that program was operating. He cannot explain why just 75 people registered their bicycles then.

In other cities, programs have been "quite successful" in recovering stolen bicycles, Morris says.

The Police Department offers a similar program for skiers and snowboarders.

Thieves regularly steal mountain bikes in Park City, with there being at least one highly valuable model taken recently. Still, Park City officials encourage bicycling as a means to reduce the amount of traffic and help the environment. They have installed bicycle racks and other improvements meant to increase the number of riders.

Morris says thieves often steal bicycles locally to use them briefly. They are then left. Other thieves, though, take high-end bicycles with the hope of selling them.

Morris says Parkites are generally trusting, possibly "naive," with their bicycles. The Police Department plans to hold events soon to encourage people to register their bicycles. Morris says hey might be scheduled at about the same time the Park City School District starts classes in late August.

People may also register at the police station at 2060 Park Ave.

For more information, contact Morris through the department’s dispatchers, 615-5500. Morris is usually available on Fridays and Saturdays, but other police officers can assist.


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