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Penhold using shields to thwart bike thefts

Crime prevention centre comes to town with free registration program
WEB Penhold anti bike theft event
Staff with the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre look over a bike in Penhold on July 30. The bike is being registered as part of the agency's 529 Garage Bike Registration, an accredited bike registration program that has proven to help in the reduction of bike theft. Centre staff, from left to right, are summer worker Michael Burkinshaw, Janise Somer, the agency's program and communications coordinator, and summer staffer Michael Gajudo. Photo courtesy of the Town of Penhold.

PENHOLD – The town’s battle against bicycle theft received a big boost last week.

In partnership with the Town of Penhold, the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre (CACPC) was at the Penhold Regional Multiplex on the afternoon of July 30 to promote its 529 Garage Bike Registration, an accredited bike registration program that has proven to help in the reduction of bike theft.

CACPC is a registered Red Deer-based not-for-profit charity that offers a one-stop location for crime prevention programs, services, and resources.

CACPC officials say the simple, easy to use registration program has helped some communities see decreases in bike thefts by up to 30 per cent.

The July 30 Penhold bike registrations were free, with the option for participants to pick up an anti-theft shield for $5. These shields serve as an additional deterrent for thieves as they will come to know a shield means a bike is registered.

The shields have a special 3M adhesive stuck to the bike and extremely difficult to remove. The bike will be damaged if a shield is removed, which officials add, is also a sign the bike could be stolen.

The Penhold event was a first for the Town of Penhold, and welcomed by local law enforcement officials who attended, including Innisfail RCMP and Victor Tam, senior community peace for the Town of Penhold.

Tam said CACPC was brought in because Penhold has seen an increase with both adult and children bicycle thefts in town and the surrounding areas.

“It is a standard that is happening right across every municipality,” said Tam, adding bike thefts are an “ongoing problem wherever you are or live.”

He said about 20 to 25 people showed up for the free registration last week. “We certified all bikes. There was no age limit,” he said. “We helped them (bike owners) register their bikes with their names and serial numbers so if they get lost or stolen we can recover them and return the bikes to their owners.”

Tam said he is considering bringing back CACPC to the town’s annual Bike Rodeo, which is held every June.

CACPC offers free bike registry events throughout Central Alberta, including in Red Deer, Sylvan Lake and Innisfail. Additional events are scheduled for Lacombe, Red Deer County, Springbrook, and several bike retailers in the region.

Citizens can also register their bikes online by using the 529 Garage app.

Each bike's identifiable information is stored in the online program that includes serial number, make, model and colour.

Multiple police agencies are also utilizing the program to return recovered bikes to the owners. However, while bikes are recovered regularly, many can’t be returned to their owners. In June of 2020, 250 bikes were auctioned off in Red Deer alone, according to CACPC.

The agency is encouraging everyone who is purchasing a second-hand bike to check the 529 Garage registry to make sure it is not listed as stolen.

If citizens have registered their bike and if it has been stolen they are urged to immediately report the stolen bike on the 529 app as well as to the RCMP. This bike registry is utilized across the country, increasing the chance of bike owners of getting their bike back.

For additional information check out the website at