If you are a resident in Flatbush, and your children own bicycles, make sure to attend the annual NYPD & Flatbush Shomrim Bicycle Vin Etching Program – being held tonight (Wednesday).
The program will be held from 5:00PM – 7:00PM at the corener of Avenue L & Bedford Avenue (side of PS 193).
If a stolen bike is recovered by Shomrim, they will be able to locate its proper owner through the numbers etched in your bike. This will be the only Vin Etching Program in the Flatbush area with each bike registered with the Flatbush Shomrim.
Bike registration functions not unlike the way state registration of cars and trucks works. At no cost to the owner, the Shomrim patrol gives each bicycle being registered a unique number, which is indelibly etched into the framework of the bike using a metal-cutting tool, and the owner is given an official registration card, which should be kept somewhere other than with the bicycle itself. In the event that bike is ever lost or stolen, and the owner files a police report, should the bike later turn up (and they frequently do), the registration number proves ownership, so the stolen bike can be returned to its rightful owner. It also conclusively establishes the guilt of a bike thief caught with the goods who tries to lie his way out of trouble by insisting that he “owns” that particular bicycle – the registration card will say otherwise, in clear black and white.
Last year, many bicycles which had been previously registered were stolen in the Flatbush area, and police later recovered many of them – and the owners got them back. In contrast, bike owners who don’t register bikes that later get stolen almost never recover their cycles; even if the police later find a bunch of stolen bikes, it’s almost impossible to match a particular bike back up with its owner if there is no registration number, and such recovered bikes are usually auctioned off by the Police Department, along with other unclaimed recovered merchandise.
“Bike registration is not like LoJack,” a Shomrim spokesman told YWN, referring to the stolen-vehicle tracking system some motorists have installed in their cars. “If a bike is stolen, we can’t track it on a radar screen – some of the kids think we can, but unfortunately, they’re wrong – but what we can do, if the bike is stolen and the police or the Shomrim patrol later find it, it is easier to get it back to the rightful owner, IF the bike was previously registered with us and If the owner files a police report after the theft.”
Shomrim strongly urge victims of bike theft or any other kind of crime to promptly file a police report, even if people tell you “it’s a waste of time and won’t do any good”; police reports provide the raw data from which the police and the patrol can sometimes figure out patterns that will lead to a criminal being caught, and can sometimes be used to connect past crimes with a criminal suspect, adding additional charges to his indictment and making it more likely he will be convicted or plead guilty and go to jail for a longer sentence.
(Meir Lewittes – YWN)