The only thing worse than having to take Muni home from the bar because your bike was lifted is trying to recover it. There's constantly monitoring Craigslist and eBay, never mind canvassing used bike shops, flea markets, and 7th and Market.
Considering how much bike theft happens in our city and that it's a "risk-free crime"--only encouraging more and more of it--you'd think there would be a better way to recover your ride. I think tech blogs refer to this as a "market ripe for disruption."
The solution we built is based on the only effective solution to bike theft we’ve encountered - self-policing by victims. If your bike is stolen, try to find where the thief is selling it and stop them. In San Francisco, bike theft victims know to search for their bikes at 7th and Market, the Oakland flea market and on the local Craigslist. The result of this self-policing? Thieves have to put the bikes on a van and sell them in another market. That’s a major pain in the ass for them.
So that’s what we decided to build. A tool to help you track down your bike when it gets stolen and make it really hard for criminals to flip it for a profit by selling it online. A dragnet for stolen bikes.
A fuckin' dragnet for stolen bikes? How does it work?:
If your bike is stolen in San Francisco and the thief is selling it in Los Angeles, now you have a way to find it. If they’ve stripped the bike down to its frame and are trying to auction it off, you can find it too. You can search on the site or set an alert and we’ll notify when bikes matching the description pop up. Once you find it, you can contact local police to figure out how to get it back.
Basically, you'll still have to check-up on 7th and Market daily, but it'll keep an eye on the internet for you. (And we know how much you love checking out the sights and smells of mid-Market, so we'll call this a win.)