Bike Theft Spikes As Lockdown Eases20 Jul 2020
Bike theft is back with a vengeance following a drop during the early months of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Figures compiled for the first half of 2020 by BikeRegister, the UK’s national cycle database, confirm that there has been a significant rise in bike theft reported to them in June – up a staggering 48% on 2019.
With restrictions now being lifted and an increase in bicycle use by new cyclists who bought bikes during lockdown, there has been a notable spike in thefts compared to last year.
In fact, BikeRegister data shows that figures for May 2020 were almost back to the same levels as 2019. June has now seen a very significant spike compared to last year (see below).
Data supplied to BikeRegister from thefts reported directly to them (2020):
January – 497 thefts reported to BikeRegister (up 3.1% on last year)
February – 460 thefts (down 8.4% on last year)
March – 431 thefts (down 14.8% on last year)
April – 376 thefts (down 24.5% on last year)
May – 556 thefts (down 5.5% on last year)
June – 786 thefts (up 48% on last year)
Bike Register’s Managing Director, James Brown said: “Thieves will have struggled to commit crimes during lockdown due to the restrictions that were in place. However, as these restrictions are starting to ease and people are moving around more, criminals are facing an easier task, and they have the bonus of being able to target the thousands of new bikes bought during the last few months.”
Brown urged all new cyclists to get their bikes registered and security marked as soon as possible. “Registering on BikeRegister means you could be reunited with your bike in the event of it being stolen. Most importantly, to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of cycle theft in the first place, security marking your bike is also recommended, as it is a proven theft deterrent,” he said.
BikeRegister is endorsed by many organisations, including the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police and Transport for London. All UK police forces use the BikeRegister database to check recovered bikes on, to see if they are reported as stolen. The database is available to them 24/7 via the BikeRegister Police App. Registration is free via the BikeRegister website and there are now over 930,000 bicycles on the database.
Brown also recommended locking cycles to an immovable object or ground anchor in home sheds, garages or at work, using a Sold Secure gold-rated lock.
He added: “Some new bike owners who purchased their bikes during lockdown will not necessarily be aware of the recent rise of cycle crime and what measures they need to take to combat it. “As we move out of lockdown, I would ask all cycle retailers to play their part in helping reduce cycle crime too. They can do this by checking any second-hand bike offered to them on our free BikeChecker service on the website to make sure it has not been reported as stolen. They could also become a stockist of our retail marking kits and encourage each customer to use one to protect their new bike as soon as they have purchased it.”
The UK Police’s National Lead for Cycle Crime, Superintendent Mark Cleland, was keen to reinforce BikeRegister’s post-lockdown security message. He said: ”There has been a huge surge in the purchase and use of bicycles during the pandemic and as we all exit lockdown there is a risk that criminals will benefit from poor locks and a lack of knowledge relating to what good cycle security looks like.
“However, there are some simple things you can do to protect your pride and joy and prevent yourself from becoming a victim of crime. Here are my Top Tips:
• Register your bike with BikeRegister and mark it
• Record as many details of your bike as possible such as the make and model as- well as all the dinks and dents
• Double lock your bike with the best locks you can afford (Gold standard ideally)
• Remove the removable bits when you lock it up
• Park your bike somewhere secure (whether home or away)
• Share the love – tell someone who owns a bike about this guidance.
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