As cyclists, we’ve probably been a victim of bike theft or know someone who has. I’ve had a bicycle nicked, oddly enough from a secure location, which required a code to enter the premises.
I reported the theft, but alas not many do. One of the main reasons for this is the feeling that the police do little to try and recover the stolen bike or catch the offender.
Some interesting bike crime figures landed on our desk this week from Automotive and cycle retailer Halfords. Based on police crime statistics from last year, Halfords estimates that bike crime costs British cyclists £80m a year.
Those same crime statistics put the total number of reported stolen bikes at115,147 in 2010. The actual figure is likely to be higher due to a high proportion of thefts that go unreported. The true number of thefts is estimated to be five times this figure according to the British Crime Survey.
Halfords collated the above figure through a Freedom of Information request to each police force in the UK.
Most bikes reported stolen had a value of between £100 and £500 with an average of value of £340. The estimated value of unrecorded bikes stolen was £70.
Given its large populous compared to anywhere else in the UK, it is no surprise that London has the largest figures in terms of reported bike theft to police. In 2010, 21,315 instances were reported to the Met in 2010 with the Westminster ward having the highest rate of theft (1,898).
Thames Valley had the second highest rate with 6,060 instances reported in 2010. This was followed by Greater Manchester (5,185) and Cambridgeshire (4,477). Thames Valley and Cambridgeshire contain university cities of Oxford and Cambridge which account for much of the crime in those areas.
The rest of the UK’s top ten bike theft hotspots include: Avon and Somerset (3,895), West Midlands (3,222), Leicestershire (3,057), Lancashire (2,727), Sussex (2,668), Humberside (2,440)
The worst area in Scotland was Strathclyde, which includes Glasgow. It recorded 2,081 thefts, followed closely by Lothian and Border with 2,026.
Advice from the GGB team
To ensure your bike is not stolen, our advice here at Going Going Bike is to always use two good locks for maximum bike security when locking your bike. Also make a note of your bike’s serial number and register those details with a recognised bike register operator. Police forces and local cycling group also run bike marking initiatives which sees a bike’s frame marked with a unique code that can help police recover the bike to the owner if it gets stolen.
We also have some advice on what to do if your bike is stolen.