By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Cyclist deal with the risk of having their bicycles stolen on a constant basis, and with the value of many bikes being higher than a monthly minimum wage in Brazil, the situation is not likely to get better soon. However there is new hope of recovering stolen bikes now with a recent cooperation between local police and web site Bicicletas Roubadas (Stolen Bikes).
The site works by the victim of the bicycle theft filling out an electronic form, clicking the “Incluir Bike” option from the top menu. By submitting the registration, the system will generate an electronic billboard for the victim, which can be printed for a record. The listing is then locked so that the registration can be reviewed and verified by staff.
After analysis, the record is posted in the site. The name of the victim and email is is secure in the system, thus preventing unauthorized emails or any problems with privacy. If someone wants to contact the victim, they can send an email using a special form whose link is indicated on each registration.
Now according to an O Globo report, 75 bikes seized by the 10th DP (Botafogo) are already registered on the site which was activated yesterday (Friday), each showing a photo, serial number, make, model and color of each. Next month, others 205, recovered by the 14th DP (Leblon), will be posted on the site.
According to the inspector of the 10th DP, Reinaldo Leal, who oversaw the registration of bicycles in the department, the goal is to have the same work done in all police stations in Rio. “We need to strengthen the culture of cycling in Rio. If people use it to work, to play sports, [it is only fair] to pay special attention to this means of transport.”
However British expatriate in Rio, and independent property rental expert Charlie Crocker, has doubts about how big an impact this will have on recovering stolen bicycles. “I’de be surprised if the website works to be honest. It is such a big city, your bike could end up anywhere,” he adds “It is a good idea to have a record of what and where, but I’d be truly surprised if it worked.”
As for his own experience, Crocker, who lives in Copacabana has had his bike stolen, but says, “[Then] I saw the guy riding past on it five days later and I stopped him!!! After some stern words, I got my bike back.”
Unfortunately less than a month ago a cyclist was stabbed and killed while taking his usual route around 7:30 PM along the Lagoa in Zona Sul (South Zone). The assault was the latest in a series of incidents around the popular Lagoa neighborhood and affluent surroundings.