Founded by three individuals, along with the lead creator of XBox, with nothing more than "out of pocket’ resources, the ten-person company calling itself Project 529 hit the Internet last month with a web and mobile app that aspires to be a next-generation Stolen Bicycle Registry and with an attention-grabbing petition asking eBay and Craigslist to begin requiring serial numbers for the bikes they sell.
Their mobile bike security suite is a one-stop destination for documenting your bike and recovering it after it’s been nabbed. 529 Garage works as both a web service and companion iPhone app (the Android version is expected to hit beta next week). You first register your bike on the company’s website; including pictures of the bike, a description of it, and the other standard details needed to expedite a police report and your insurance claim. This database has been developed in conjunction with—and routinely searched by—several local law enforcement agencies.
Moreover, Project 529 is cooperating with more than a dozen Portland-area bike shops to automatically register every bike they sell.
"A big part of our effort is to collaborate with local bike shops, clubs, associations, and law enforcement to advance the rollout and effectiveness," Project 529 founder J Allard said in a press statement.
"Our approach on this front is to launch and refine locally and then expand nationally. To this point, we have 13 Portland-based bike shops online with the service that will be hosting a free bike registration day tomorrow (5/29) and we are working with local news outlets to spread the word." Even with the service’s local roots, it already boasts thousands of registrations throughout 35 states and that number is sure to grow.
If your bike is stolen, the companion iPhone app comes into play. With it, you can broadcast a "Missing Bike Bulletin" to the phones of other 529 members in the area. If they see your whip, they can quickly and discretely forward the bikes location and direction of movement through the app to law enforcement and you.
If you want even more of a deterrent, the company offers "529 Shields," weather-proof badges that help police more easily identify stolen bikes, for $10 a pop at Project 529.
HELP US STOP BIKE THEFT
JOIN US IN URGING CRAIGSLIST AND EBAY TO REQUIRE SERIAL NUMBERS ON USED BIKE SALES
There’s a simple solution that would help dramatically cut down on these statistics: requiring a serial number when selling bikes online. Just as VIN numbers are required to list cars for sale, requiring a serial number will deter criminals from using your sites to move stolen bikes. It additionally gives the victims of theft a chance of recovering their bikes.
We the undersigned are petitioning eBay and Craigslist to add the simple requirement of including serial numbers for bicycle listings. We believe this poses no material impact to legitimate sellers or to your business. Please help keep this vibrant category on your sites ethical and above board.
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