In late summer, 2011, there was a notable increase in the number of bicycle thefts. Aside from preventative measures (e.g. locks), people in my group of friends wanted to figure out what to do in the case our bikes were stolen.
I spoke with Officer Brian Bannerman of the Rochester Police Department and asked what information would be useful in the case of a bike theft. He said that when an officer takes a report, they ask for:
- Make (manufacturer)
- Serial Number
- Any customizations that are unique (e.g. rear blinker is common but yellow panier bags are not.)
If you discover your bike has been stolen, call 911. An officer will arrive and take a report and either give it to you or give you the report number. I asked what to do if an officer does not take a report or is uncooperative, and he said to contact a shift supervisor by calling either the Division Patrol Office (428-9800 if east of the Genesee, 428-9810 if west) or, if the time is after business hours, call 911 and ask to speak to one.
Our friends suggested getting together for a "serial number party" and I said I'd make up blank cards to fill out. The goal was something small enough to carry at all times about as big as an ID card or credit card.