How and why to report a stolen bike

We have noticed in our web stats that many people are arriving at our site via searches regarding stolen bikes. We have written a few posts on various aspects of bike security, but thought we should have one place with a summary of all the information. For further details, please check our more detailed posts.

If your bike is stolen, file a report with the police! This serves multiple purposes.

  1. You may get your bike back! Not all stolen bikes disappear. If you don’t report it stolen, though, you won’t get an incident number. If your bike does resurface, the police have no way of contacting you. Read Jimbo’s story for a real-life example of a bike being reunited with its rightful owner!
  2. Insurance companies usually require an incident number, proving the bike has been stolen.
  3. Statistics: police departments can deploy more resources if they see a spike in theft from a particular area.
  4. Improvements in security:a building or business may improve security if they are aware of theft issues

How to Report

In Vancouver you can either call the non-emergency number at 604.717.3321 and report it over the phone or go online. Make sure you have all your information ready. See our post on required information. You can also go online (Vancouver) to report theft.

You will receive an incident number, which may be required for insurance purposes and for bike recovery. Every years hundreds of stolen bikes are sold at auction by the Vancouver Police Department…these are bikes that could have been returned to the owner if it had been reported.

If you do see someone with your bike, how to proceed is at your discretion. As in the case of Jimbo’s bike, they called the non-emergency police number to request assistance.

The VPD advise people to call 911 if they see their bike being stolen and you can prove it’s your bike (ie having the receipt or serial number). They also advise calling 911 if you see your stolen bike in someone else’s possession. However, they stress that calling 911 is an option ONLY if  you have already reported the theft of your bike and can prove it’s your bike. Again, having your incident number available will help. Otherwise, calling the non-emergency number at 717-3321 is your only option.

Other Jurisdictions

For the most part, the procedure is the same as for Vancouver except you need to call the local non-emergency police. Many areas of  BC have RCMP detachments; others have their own municipal force. Click here to see a list of local detachments and their contact information.

The following Lower Mainland jurisdictions have their own municipal police departments (if we are missing one, please let us know):

Port Moody * New Westminster * Delta * West Vancouver * Abbotsford


Although nothing is 100%  guaranteed to protect your bike, there are a number of basic steps you can take. Please read our post on Locks and Security.

The flip side of being a victim of bike theft is to make sure you don’t inadvertently purchase a stolen bike. See our post for tips on purchasing used bikes.

Read our post on bike theft stats in Vancouver.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to use our comment form.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s