Montrealers use Facebook to try to take back their stolen bikes without police help
If you've ever had your bike stolen, you probably know how frustrating it may be trying to retrieve it.
In response, several of them have created a Facebook group, which now has more than 6,000 members.
Velo Volé Montreal is managed by Rodrigo Gonzalez, who had his bike stolen two years ago.
He, along with the thousands of group members, are trying to take matters into their own hands when it comes to getting their bikes back.
"There's a lot of stolen bikes and some are worth a lot of money, and we feel like nothing's been done by the city to help us out here," Gonzalez said.
When his bike was stolen, Gonzalez made a police report, but he said he felt like not much more would be done.
So he decided to scour the Internet to find his bike with his serial number, and managed to track it down on Kijiji.
"I decided to reach the guy and pretend I was a client that was really interested in the bike and I had the money ready to get it now," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez got his bike back without the police's help.
"I did call the police to come with us, but they weren't able to come because they had bigger things to take care of," he said.
Gonzalez said he knows stolen bikes are not high on the police's priority list.
"I understand they have their priorities and I knew that I couldn't rely on them to find something that's not so much of value to them because it's under $5000," Gonzalez said.
Andre Durocher with Montreal police said they have to prioritize based on their number of resources.
He said he understands when things are stolen, it feels like it's the most important thing to you.
"However, you can't stop the world from turning," he said.
He also said it's still important to report your stolen bike to your local police department, so that they can track the concentration of a given area.
As for investigating bike theft, it still isn't easy for police.
"If the bike is not engraved, if the serial number is not registered or the person doesn't have a receipt, of course it makes it a bit difficult," Du Rocher said.
This is why Gonzalez allows Montrealers to join the Facebook group, so they can have more options than just going to police.
He said the group is meant to help you find out what to do and where to go if your bike has been stolen.
The group also contains posts about how to prevent bike theft by providing resources on how to lock your bike properly.
With 1,800 bikes stolen in Montreal last year, Gonzalez, as well as the SPVM, encourages Montrealers to get their bikes engraved to better track them.