Tahoe resident eyes National Bike Registry to battle thefts
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Jeffrey Corman had seen enough.
After his baby-sitter’s bicycle was stolen this summer — while she was bartending at the Incline Spirits Barefoot Bar at Incline Beach, a thief actually cut the lock and sped away, Corman said — and other friends’ bikes were stolen, he decided to take action.
He and his wife, Kirsten, met with Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jeff Clark, who commands the Incline Village Substation, to see what could be done to solve what Corman says is a “bike stealing epidemic” in Incline.
“Once I found out we did not have a (bike registration) program, I decided to take it upon myself to implement it ASAP,” he said. “It’s not so much the registry itself, as much as to deter theft even more if these guys even think the bike might be registered.”
Corman, a 10-year full-time resident, researched the National Bike Registry online, and noticed that while the Reno Police Department is among hundreds of law enforcement agencies signed up, WCSO is not.
The way NBR works, after paying a fee — $10 for a 10-year registration, for example — an owner is issued a tamper-resistant NBR label to identify the bike, the serial number of which is put in the NBR system.
Then, if a bike is stolen, that information is shared with local law enforcement.
“We are certainly looking into it, and we want to support it … but we’re still waiting for approval,” Clark said Wednesday, adding that the program would include all of Washoe County, not just Incline Village. “We’re analyzing what cost that is to the sheriff’s office … Jeff and I have been talking about it for awhile now, and I certainly think it would be a good thing.”
Regarding bike thefts in Incline, while specific statistics were not immediately available, Clark said it’s not a major problem.
Still, the department does see an uptick throughout the county each year in the weeks leading up the Burning Man festival in late August in Black Rock City, where bicycles are essentially the only mode of transportation for its some 70,000 participants.
Clark’s main advice for bike-owners to avoid theft: Keep the paperwork with the serial numbers.
“That’s the biggest way to get your bike back,” Clark said. “Whenever we find property, we run the serial number. We can enter that into the National Crime Information Center database. If that bike is found anywhere … then we get an NCIC hit.”
Corman’s hope is WCSO approves the NBR partnership by Sept. 21, so it can be rolled out that day at the annual Sheriff’s Day Picnic at Aspen Grove.
From there, Corman, a Realtor with Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty in Incline, said he would host registration sign-ups at the Sotheby’s parking lot on Saturdays.
He’s also working with the Incline Village General Improvement District to have tables available at various venues.
“I’ll even go to your house to do it … it’s that important. Whatever it takes to get it done,” Corman said.