Well, for bikes which are stolen but not dismantled, bicycle security labels, like these 3M Security Labels, may be helpful in a case of theft - police will have and can circulate details easily and the physical presence of a label may act as a deterrent to thieves.
In March 2011, the first bicycle security labels system was launched at Tampines Town Council by the National Crime Prevention Council (Singapore) and the Singapore Police Force (see the Today Online news report on this blog and NCPC's photos from the launch).
The NCPC 2011 annual report explains:
"Bearing the NCPC’s and the Singapore Police Force’s logos, each label contains a unique set of numbers for the easy identification of bicycles. The tamper proof labels are specially produced with security features so that they cannot be easily replicated.
It will also be useful as an identity reference for bicycle owners when lodging a report or filing for an independent registry such as the Tampines Town Council BIDS system. The Bicycle Security Labels are given out free of charge at all Neighbourhood Police Centres."
Most of us forgot about it because at the time, the labels and the BIDS (Online Bicycle Identification System) system were available only to residents at Tampines Town Council. The report did indicate that the scheme would be rolled out "to other constituencies in phases from May."
Well, many of us forgot all about this, so recently there has been a push to remind us.
This morning, NCPC's facebook page posted "Get your free Bicycle Security Label from your nearest NPC! This label comes with a unique serial number that helps you and the Police to identify your stolen bicycle."
I searched and found this Straits Times article from just a few days ago - "Security labels let you track your bicycle," by Jalelah Abu Baker. The Straits Times, 13 Dec 2011.They can help to deter theft and are available at any police centre
"Cyclist Edwin Low pedalled to a neighbourhood police post in Whampoa on Monday within hours of reading about an anti-theft measure.
He had read a post put up on the police's official Facebook page encouraging bicycle owners to stick a security label on their machines.
It took no more than five minutes, and he left knowing that his $13,000 bicycle would no longer be an easy target for thieves.
The rectangular label, which allows a bicycle to be tracked if stolen, was released in collaboration with the National Crime Prevention Council. It was made available to the public in June but it was only through the Facebook post that many cyclists and groups have now come to learn about it.
The number of bicycle thefts increased by 40 per cent to 454 in the first half this year, from 318 in the same period last year.
The police said owners can go to any neighbourhood police centre with their bicycle to collect the security label. The particulars of the owner and the label's serial number will be recorded.
A spokesman added: 'The label serves as a visual deterrent to thieves and comes with a unique serial number that helps owners and the police to identify their bicycle if it is stolen.'
The white adhesive label - described in the post as weather-resistant - has security features embedded which will allow the machine to be traced even if the label is tampered with.
Mr Low, 22, manager of bicycle shop Elite Custom, said the move would benefit cyclists who commute or pedal for recreation and do not have the luxury of safeguarding their bicycles in their homes.
But keeping it at home is not always foolproof security-wise as another avid cyclist, Mr Shawn Chung, found out on Monday morning.
His modified bicycle, which cost about $1,000, had gone missing from his terrace house in Katong.
He usually keeps it locked in a garage but had left it in the porch as he was tired after returning from an eight-hour cycling trip in Bintan.
However, he feels a security label is not of much use since even if the bicycle is tracked down, it would probably not be intact.
Said Mr Chung, 41, who is between jobs: 'My bike is probably already in pieces and the different parts will be sold separately. This is what generally happens.'
Still, Mr Steven Lim, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force, welcomed the label as a good step towards minimising the number of thefts as the culprits would not get away as easily.
But he noted that nothing beats vigilance on the part of the bicycle owner.
The police advise owners to keep their bicycles at home when they are not using them. They should be locked when left unattended, even if only for a short while.
Cyclists can go for a durable U-lock, which provides better security than cable locks, or a lock with an alarm feature.
Said the chairman of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), Mr Tan Kian Hoon: 'Bicycle-shop operators can also help by urging their customers to use the labels.
'With the entire community coming together, NCPC is confident that the problem of bicycle thefts in Singapore can be tackled effectively.'
So, have you got your label yet? I'll go down to my neighbourhood police post (NPP) to get mine later.