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As the number pf bicycles in Milan grows, so does the chance of them being stolen

Milan Police helps you recover your stolen bike through Facebook

Milan Police helps you recover your stolen bike through Facebook

Using social media to restore justice and put some visibility to a persistent criminal activity

Milan residents now have a new recourse to finding their stolen bicycles – rather than search for it on clandestine markets, they can browse the photo archive of a Facebook page created by the municipal police. The page is maintained by the Squadra Contrasto Bici Rubate, or the Special Task Force for Stolen Bikes.

The Facebook page publishes photos of the recovered bikes, also in consultation with the other police forces of the city. Furthermore, it provides useful information and instructions for their recovery by owners.

As bicycles become more common, so do the acts of theft

The Milanese authorities specify that in the event of theft the best thing to do is to file a report immediately by contacting the police or by making an appointment at a police station. Another useful thing to do, if you’ve been a victim of bike theft is to keep an eye on online ads, which are often the sales channels for stolen two-wheelers.

Those bicycles recovered by the police through investigations or following citizens' reports are catalogued and inserted in a photo album published on Facebook.

At the time of writing, according to MiTomorrow, there are 470 bicycles that have been recovered by the police agents. All of these are stored in a secret warehouse in Milan – a place reserved for security reasons and where the police also keep their vehicles.

Each bike has an assigned number and its photo is posted on the Facebook group so that the owner can recognize it and get it back. "The local police check the places of the second-hand trade, collect the reports, verify the origin and often the bicycle finds its owner," explains the methodology, the city’s Councilor for Safety, Marco Granelli.

A simple look at the Facebook page, shows that it works, as the police also post photos of the happy owners reunited with their bikes. The photo op is optional though, and the owners can also choose not to show their faces.

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