Our aim is to enable bikers to help reduce bike crime
What this site is designed to achieve.
1. INCREASE THE CHANCES OF YOU RECOVERING YOUR BIKE
Once you have reported your stolen bike to the police, it’s in their hands and you’re powerless to do much more.
However you can visit Bikers United and within minutes, the details of your bike will be spread on social media.
You can easily enter the details of your bike and the theft. You can then share the link to your network and we’ll also post it to our social networks too. In the days to follow, if anyone types in your registration number in Google, they’ll find your listing and be able to contact you with information about your bike.
2. REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY, DOCUMENTING CRIMINALS
While there are great ways of reporting crime, from 999 to 101 and Crime Stoppers, one of the problems with bike theft is that the actions that commonly lead up to a crime are not criminal, so it’s hard for you to report.
You might witness a few lads checking out a bike, or someone riding on a bike that you think looks dodgy. The trouble is, there’s not a lot you can do about it.
Until now. Bikers United provides us with a mechanism to report tiny happenings, sightings that seem suspicious but don’t warrant a call to the police. Even if you do call the police, it takes a long time to log a small incident or sighting and you can wonder if you’re wasting everyone’s time.
In aggregate these small sightings add up to something significant. The more ammunition we can give the authorities, the higher the chance of a conviction.
3. REPORT DODGY SELLERS, DISRUPTING THE SUPPLY CHAIN
If we reduce the number of outlets that criminals can use to sell their stolen bikes and scooters, we reduce their audience and the demand for stolen gear they are selling. Making it harder for them to off-load stolen bikes, means they’re sat on them for longer, risking being caught and making it harder for them to make their crime profitable.
Sure, these scumbags have wised-up to the fact that some marketplace sites mean they’re easier to track but stolen bikes and parts are readily available on eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and other channels, like Shpock and Instagram. Find a dodgy-looking scooter on Facebook Marketplace and then look at the seller’s other ads – the chances are they have more than a few bikes for sale.
By reporting these profiles, taking screengrabs and documenting the PAYG phone numbers these criminals are using, we’re giving the police excellent evidence to help them build a case against those involved in bike crime.
These are small contributions we can make which add up to a meaningful amount of evidence for the police.
An idea without execution is nothing: how this site came in to being
If, like me, you are fed-up with the rise in bike crime, the threat of having your pride and joy stolen by an oxygen-wasting low-life or if you’ve had enough of the scummy plebs that are giving biking a bad name, then this site is for you.
My idea for a National Stolen Motorcycle & Scooter database probably isn’t an original one. However, anyone can have a good idea but not everyone has the wherewithal and the motivation to see it through.
Having spent time researching, I came across an exact version of what I wanted to achieve. The excellent Stolen-Bikes.co.uk website was built for the cycling world, which also suffers from a serious theft problem. I contacted its founder, John Moss and he agreed to supply me with the code base so that I could establish Bikers United. I’m truly grateful to John, as it has saved me a lot of time and headaches (although I’ve still had my fair share of problems to solve in order to get BU live).
Back in November 2017 I had had enough of the state of motorcycle crime. Living in London, I admit it’s far worse than the rest of the country but my fear was: if these scrotes could get away with it in London, it would quickly spread to other cities and across the country.
So I started working on a site where bikers could register their stolen bikes and scooters in order to increase their chances of getting it back.
Added motivation to get the site live
Somewhat ironically (or predictably), I then had my scooter stolen in April this year. Fortunately the police spotted two scrotes on it in a town about 10 miles away. Following a pursuit, they rammed them off the bike and both were arrested (and I’m led to believe, will ‘go back to jail’).
The result is, I got my bike back, although it’s so damaged, it’s pretty much a write-off. Because I recorded it as stolen with the police and because the guys on it never changed my number plate, they were spotted and chased.
However, with a system like Bikers United, someone could have spotted my bike being used in a suspicious manner, looked up the plate by typing it into Google and seen it was registered here and could be suspicious.
The problem with the current system: it’s a closed loop
If you are unlucky enough to have your bike stolen, you report it to the police, either by calling 999 (if the suspects are still on the scene) or by calling your local police station or 101.
We’ve seen it a thousand times before but all the police will do is give you a crime reference number and follow it up with an email along the lines of: ‘We have investigated this incident and our enquiries are now complete’. Even if you have CCTV in most cases the police won’t be interested unless you can clearly see the suspect’s face and even then, they are not guaranteed to follow it up.
Not everyone who has a motorcycle stolen reports it to the police and not everyone who has one stolen wants to report it to their insurer. Sometimes it’ll work out better for you (in terms of your No Claims Bonus) if you don’t claim on the insurance and buy another bike. So not every theft goes reported which means the ‘full’ picture of how serious and epidemic bike crime is, isn’t known.
It’s hard for the average person to spread the word
When you have reported the theft, you want to get the word out there. You can head to Facebook and try and spread the word, but Facebook is a walled garden and your message won’t – in most cases – get that far.
Lots of people don’t have Facebook or any social profiles, so for them, it’s almost impossible to get the word out there.
Bikers United provides a better mechanism for the average person to spread the word about their stolen bike. Your listing is fed directly into Google, so if people search for your registration plate (having seen your bike being used, or in an ad on Gumtree, eBay or Facebook Marketplace) then it will show up. They can then contact you through your listing and pass on any info they have.
Pinning down bike thieves and building a database: better than 101?
The additional functionality of the site is to allow bikers to quickly and easily report snippets of suspicious activity or dodgy sellers.
I might be in the minority here but when I see suspicious activity (scrotes two-up on scooters, checking out bikes, running red lights, gangs of scooters, etc) then I call Crimestoppers or 101 to report it. However, often it takes AGES on the phone and if you do get through to someone, you spent 80% of the call giving information about yourself and then when you give the vital bit of info, it’s along the lines of: “This bike, with this plate was two up and ran two sets of lights at this time on this road” and you feel like a bit of a herbert for reporting it and you have no idea if it’s doing any good.
Likewise, while CrimeStoppers has a good website, it takes a long time to report a tiny piece of information. Yet it’s these little snippets of info that will help the police pin down criminals to a time, a place or an activity.
Our eyes are out there. We have a good sense of who is legit and who isn’t.
We can help link individuals to certain bikes, shared number plates, locations and this info could prove vital to the police by allowing them to trace the path of bike thieves and pin them down.
Together I know we can make a difference.