About a year ago somebody “borrowed” my bicycle and forgot to return it. I was sort of insured by — in case of a theft I was entitled to buy a new one from the same seller with a huge discount. All I needed for this was to prove that it had actually been stolen. So I had to report the theft to the police, wait (ten days or two weeks, I don’t remember), have them issue a certificate and take it to the bicycle shop.

I assume that during that ten day period the police were desperately searching for my bicycle, and that’s when I wondered how they search for stolen bicycles. I was stopped a couple of times by a police patrol and had my ID and bicycle registration number checked, but I don’t remember ever seeing policemen thoroughly check the registration numbers of, say, all bicycles in a parking. They are nice guys, but I think they are not very good at finding a stolen bicycle, which means that the whole idea of registration is almost useless. Is there a way to make more efficient? Maybe.

After one of my friends offered himself to search for my bicycle in his neighborhood (it was very kind of him, but I thought it’s a waste of his time, so I declined), I got an idea. What if everyone had access to the police database of stolen bikes (or any other registered thing)? What if that database were accessible via internet, or even better, via some cellphone application? Then anybody, when seeing an abandoned bicycle, could take a note of its registration number and check it out right there!

Just an idea.

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