I'm quite a fan of the City of Austin's Bike Program webpage. It includes helpful information about where they're putting in new bike infrastructure, what community meetings are happening, and so on. Until yesterday I had never noticed a small link offering the ability to register your bike's serial number and description with the Austin Police department in case of theft (link here). After completing the information on the website, I went looking for more information if this is a thing in other cities. And boy howdy, is it ever.
My search led me to the National Bike Registry, which works with law enforcement groups across the nation to assist with returning stolen bicycles to their owners. As we all know, bike theft is a real problem and if you're like me, I'm pretty attached to my wheels. Many of these bikes end up with law enforcement in another city and are never returned to their owner due to a lack of identification on the bike itself. Registration with the National Bike Registry makes your bike's serial number and your contact information available to any law enforcement group that bothers to notice their decal attached to the bike.
According to the NBR's website, they have a tremendously successful rate of return should your bike end up in a law enforcement holding. I'm not sure yet whether I'll register my bike, but at $10 for 10 years worth of registry it certainly isn't exhorbitant. The ideal of course is for the bike not to be stolen in the first place. But in an effort to turn hindsight into foresight, this is definitely worth some consideration.