I recently attended a morning dedicated to the prevention of cycle theft.
Representatives from Transport for London, the Met Police, British Transport Police and the retail industry came together to talk seriously about a problem which affects thousands of cyclists a year.
According to Met police statistics, in fact, 23,144 thefts were reported to them in 2011/2012, equating to one every twenty minutes in London alone. To add to this, they believe only 1 in 4 cases are actually reported.
The average value of these stolen bikes, they think, is £335 – that is a lot of hard earned money being lost to people who simply want to ride to the shops, ride to work, or just ride around town.
Discouraging statistics over, what also came out of the meeting was that the police are doing a lot to prevent theft and catch thieves. The Met police make over 1,000 arrests a year, and 86% of those come from some sort of observation, such as through CCTV. They, and the British Transport Police, have been driving resources into tracking bike theft and trying to control and limit it.
The police have also been working hard to find ways of advising the public on how they can protect their bikes themselves. A representative from the British Transport Police said: “A significant proportion of stolen bikes have been left insecure. Cycle theft statistics could be radically improved if people took more care over security of their bike.”
The majority of bike thefts take place in public places, and the preferred tool, we were told, is a pair of bolt cutters.
The first step you can take reduce the likelihood of your bike being stolen is by deterring thieves by locking your bike safely and securely, with a lock that looks invincible.
Bolt cutters will get through a cable lock, but not a D-lock. Therefore, we recommend you use a combination of a D-lock and cables threaded through the wheels. We sell some great combinations locks, so you get everything all in one. We’ve got a great video called ‘How to lock your bike’ which goes into more detail.
A cheap lock is the ultimate false economy, and will make your bike an easy target. Most insurers will require your bike to be secured with a Sold Secure graded lock which has been independently rated. This should reflect the price of your bike; the general rule of thumb is to spend approximately 10% of the bikes value on a bike lock.
Bronze – bike value under £250
Silver – bike value £250 – £1500
Gold – bike value over £1500
Getting your bike registered is also both an effective deterrent and can help police get your bike back to you if it is stolen. The UKs largest bike registration scheme is ‘Bike Register’. They sell kits from as little as £10.90 and all bikes are given a unique number, so it can be returned if claimed by police or sold on. Not only that, but and thieves who see the bike is tagged are less likely to target it so using the sticker provided is also a great idea.
When you buy a new bike, make sure you take down the frame number – you will usually find this on the underside and you can ask in-store for help locating it. We also advise you take some detailed notes of anything that marks your bike out, such as the brand of pedals, saddle or wheels, and pictures can help you locate it if it is ever stolen.
Using your bike to ride to work or get around is a simple pleasure, and we don’t want to let thieves ruin that. Having your bike marked and locking it securely will make a thief’s job more difficult, lets work together to cut down on bike crime.