Kelowna cyclists looks to social media to combat rampant bike theft | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna cyclists looks to social media to combat rampant bike theft

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August 20, 2018 - 5:30 PM

CENTRAL OKANAGAN - A Kelowna man who has had three bikes stolen between him and his girlfriend in the last year says a recently created Facebook page is a great way to fight back against an all-too common crime.

Lost But Not Gone Kelowna Cycle Recovery aims to “decrease or slow down” bike theft in Kelowna by giving locals a relatively real-time network to report bike thefts and sightings.

Park joined the page in the middle of July after his latest theft — a childhood bike he had long ignored but then recently brought back to life.

“After years of treating it a like a beast, I cleaned it up and painted it,” Park laments. “Not long after that, it was stolen.”

While he did the right thing and reported the thefts to RCMP, Park says he’s also fighting back with an activated video surveillance camera focusing on the carport of his downtown Kelowna house where all three bikes had their locks cut before disappearing.

He also turned to social media.

“I immediately thought everyone in Kelowna is on the Internet, I should form a group but then I looked and there already was one,” Park said.

His recent video posts to the Lost But Not Gone page of sketchy characters scoping out his driveway brought instant condemnation from many of the 300 or so like-minded members of the page.

Park managed to get two of his stolen bikes back by cruising down Leon Avenue in Kelowna and spotting someone riding them (although police recommend against doing that.)

“I don’t think a lot of these thefts are for resale, more like quick transportation,” he said. “But at the same time, I don’t have any desire to get in a fight with a homeless guy over my stolen bike.”

Still, he’s not backing down and is planning to install a plexiglass case for his surveillance camera and move it to eye level in his carport.

"I want to have a sensor-activated voice that says ‘let me see that pretty face,” Park laughs.

More seriously, he advocates for a much more formal registry of bikes, similar to what he saw in Central America. He also recommends the 529 Garage app, a North America wide community based bike registration and recovery service.

The City of Kelowna is holding an event Don’t Let Someone Take Off With Your Ride, Aug. 23 from 2 to 6  p.m. at Parkinson Recreation Centre, 1800 Parkinson Way near the front entrance bike racks. Staff will also be on hand to with strategies to harden your bike to theft.

 


To contact a reporter for this story, email John McDonald or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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