City launches new bicycle registration system to curb theft and return stolen bikes to Denverites

DPD previously said that registering a bike with the police is the number one way to ensure that a bike is returned if stolen and recovered.
3 min. read
Baker Bicycle Works in Scott Baker’s backyard in Denver’s University neighborhood. March 21, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Cyclists rejoice: The city has officially launched a new digital bicycle registration and tracking platform, 529 Garage.

Denver Police, along with City Councilmembers Paul Kashmann and Jolon Clark announced last week the launch of 529 Garage, a new system that will replace DPD's decade-old registration database.

The 529 Garage system was created by Project 529, which was founded in 2013 by J Allard after his bike was stolen in Seattle. The company's mission "is to reduce bike theft and reunite more stolen bikes with their rightful owners" and they have.

Kashmann previously said that the system was "able to not just increase the number of bikes that were returned to owners but also actually reduced bicycle theft by like 40% over three years."

Signing up for the database is free through DPD's website or by downloading the 529 Garage app.

Once a cyclist logs on, they enter their bike's serial number, make, model, color and any other descriptive information. DPD has migrated more than 17,000 registered bikes from the old system to the new system.

DPD said bike owners should have received an email confirming the transfer.

Besides being a registration system, the 529 Garage program also offers cyclists a 529 Shield decal. The decal is optional but it's tamper-resistant and comes with a unique seven-character ID code that adds an additional identifier to the bike.

The decal's goal is to be a visible deterrent to thieves similar to those security signs homeowners put on their lawns.

Folks who register can receive a free decal from DPD district stations, community events that will start in the summer or from participating bike shops such as Good Turn Cycles.

A biker in Cheesman Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

In 2020, a record-breaking 1,946 bikes were stolen in Denver.

Since then the numbers have decreased but remain high.

At a recent press conference, Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said bicycle theft is "down 33% year-to-date compared with the three-year average, but that's still nearly 600 bikes reported stolen in more than four months."

DPD previously said that registering a bike with the police is the number one way to ensure that a bike is returned if stolen and recovered.

More than 400 bicycles were recovered in 2022, but were not claimed or returned to their owners because they weren't registered, something police hope to address in using the 529 Garage system, according to a DPD statement.

"I couldn't be more excited to welcome Project 529 to Denver. This simple bicycle registration and identification program brings Denver bike security into the 21st century, deterring bike theft from occurring, while facilitating the return of stolen bicycles whenever one is recovered," Kashmann said in the press release. "Cyclists registered with the 529 Garage system can feel more secure that their bike will remain in good hands - their own."

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