SF Police Turn to Twitter to Reunite Owners with Stolen Bikes

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A screenshot of the SFPD's new Twitter feed dedicated to bike theft

Out of the estimated 4,000 bikes stolen in San Francisco last year, 864 were recovered -- but only 142 were returned to their owners.  Now, the SFPD is using social media to close that gap.

@SFPDBikeTheft  was started by officer Matt Friedman, who tweets out stolen bike alerts, pictures of bikes the SFPD has recovered, and tips to prevent getting a bike stolen in the first place.

A recent SFPD report says many people don’t check with police after their bike is stolen, making it hard to reunite recovered bikes with their owners. Friedman hopes the Twitter account will help by putting a public face on the SFPD’s efforts to combat theft. But SFPD has other tools its in toolbox to tackle bike theft. The city is starting a citywide bike registry so residents can register their bicycle’s unique serial number.  And the police department is also conducting a bike baiting campaign -- where they tempt thieves with a poorly locked bike in a public place.

For more stories on how people use Twitter to recover stolen bikes, check out Recovering Stolen Bikes with Social Media and Cycle Vigilantism.