Newly compiled data has estimated a staggering 70,000+ bikes were stolen in London in 2014.
'The Crime Survey records crimes that may not have been reported to the police, including bicycle theft. When used alongside the police recorded bike crime figures, it helps to show a more accurate picture of the level of bike crime.'
Whilst around 20,000 bikes (17,809) were reported stolen to the police, the Crime Survey suggests that only one in four thefts are reported to the police.
How does your London borough rank?
Hackney tops the list with the most reported bike thefts. It is also worth stating that Census data places Hackney as the most popular borough for residents who cycle to work.
It will be interesting to see how the reported numbers turn out for 2015. So far this year I have noticed a correlation with the top hot spots mentioned and the tweets received by the @StolenRide community. Whilst cycle theft will continue to be a huge issue that we will all need to fight back against and protect ourselves from in London, I do believe that the police are slowly continuing to increase their effort.
At the July 2015 Cycle Crime Conference, BikeBiz reported that over 30 police forces gathered to discuss bike theft. Sgt Titus Halliwell, Roads & Transport Policing Command from the Metropolitan Police spoke about:
'The successful 'Lock Thieves Out' campaign and other ways to promote cycle security. He announced that almost 200,000 bikes have been marked and registered using BikeRegister by the Met Police and that bike marking is an effective crime prevention tool.'
The police are encouraging bike marking and I congratulate their efforts. Creating a strong awareness of safety and security is imperative in my opinion. The popularity of cycling is growing at a rapid rate and so education and resources for theft prevention, recovery and justice are extremely important.
I receive mixed messages about the police efforts on @StolenRide. Some are very positive when bikes are recovered, while others can be very negative with officers reportedly not showing compassion and closing cases quickly without proper investigation. If cases are not taken seriously, not only can they be very frustrating and distressing for the bike owner, it can undermine the reputation of the police across the whole cycling community. If a cyclist tells another that there is no point reporting a stolen bike, this will not only reduce the chances of recovery but will skew the true picture of bike theft in London and resources allocated to fighting it.
I strongly encourage anyone that falls victim of bicycle theft to report the details to the police and push for action to be taken.
Would you report your bike if it was stolen?