Number of reported bike thefts doubles in York in just 12 months

Figures obtained by local newspaper well above estimates given by police in January

by Simon_MacMichael   August 1, 2011  

Ollie the tea-leaf

Cyclists in York are suffering a huge increase in bike theft, with the latest figures revealing that the number of reported bikes stolen in the historic city in the 12 months to May was more than double that the previous year and a third above annual estimates made by the police in January. What’s more, only one in 14 of the bicycles stolen is later reunited with its rightful owner, reports the York Press.

The newspaper reports that based on figures it has obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, 2,173 bicycles were stolen in the city in the year to May 2011, around double the number in 2009/10. Since the figures only reflect thefts reported to the police, the true extent of bike crime in the city is likely to be higher.

The worst areas in York for the theft of bicycles are the city centre Guildhall ward, with 386 incidents recorded, followed by Clifton with 200 then Micklegate, where 190 thefts were recorded, and Heworth with 188.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police told the York Press: “We are aware of this increase in the theft of pedal cycles and have a number of ongoing operations to reduce these thefts, which are often opportunistic.

“We encourage people to help themselves becoming the victims of crime by securing their cycles with approved locks and ensuring that they are stored in a locked building when not in use.

“If owners have had their bikes security coded, this means that we are far more likely to be able to return them once recovered.”

The figures obtained by the newspaper also showed that just 70 people had been subject to police action in relation to bike theft during the year, of whom 65 were charged with the other five receiving cautions.

Initiatives taken by police to try and combat bike crime include the Red Hand campaign, under which tracking chips are inserted in bait bikes, allowing them to be tracked if they are taken.

A separate initiative, Operation Spoke, encourages cyclists to have their bikes security tagged and added to the national Immobilise database.

Secure parking is now available at the cycle hub station next to Lendal Bridge, which was opened with the help of money from City of York Council and Cycling City York.

It is operated by the Bike Rescue Project, which advised cyclists to buy a decent lock, with spokesperson Bernie Cullen saying, “If you buy a cheap lock, you may as well tie a bow on a bike.”

One local cyclist, Michael Thompson, recovered his bicycle a month after it had been stolen outside York Station, when he found it abandoned on Micklegate, but police had earlier warned him there was little chance of getting it back.

“When I spoke to police, they said finding my bike would be like finding a needle in a haystack because so many are stolen,” he said.

“I think York is quite old-fashioned when it comes to bikes and bike safety. You pretty much leave your bike chained to a metal pole, but in other cities there are plenty of secure bike parks where you pay to leave your bike in a safe place.”
 

5 user comments

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Quote:
Cyclists in York are suffering a huge increase in bike theft

Conjecture

Quote:
, with the latest figures revealing that the number of reported bikes stolen in the historic city in the 12 months to May was more than double that the previous year and a third above annual estimates made by the police in January.

Fact

Question - how much of the increase in *reported* thefts is due to people no longer just shrugging and assuming the police won't care/can't help ?

posted by mad_scot_rider [512 posts]
1st August 2011 - 10:29

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Check out the anti-bike comments that accompany the York Press article. Obviously some petrol-heads find thieves preferable to cyclists (at least in a mostly middle-class city like York where car theft is rare.)

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
1st August 2011 - 11:47

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That's a good point, although you have to ask what would bring about such a change in behaviour - most likely evidence that the police were getting results and putting thieves behind bars and returning bikes to their owners, and that such results were getting publicised.

Although we don't have prior-year comparatives for that, the figures quoted in the story suggest that the vast majority of reported thefts remain unsolved.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7413 posts]
1st August 2011 - 11:47

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mad_scot_rider wrote:
Quote:
Cyclists in York are suffering a huge increase in bike theft

Conjecture

Quote:
, with the latest figures revealing that the number of reported bikes stolen in the historic city in the 12 months to May was more than double that the previous year and a third above annual estimates made by the police in January.

Fact

Question - how much of the increase in *reported* thefts is due to people no longer just shrugging and assuming the police won't care/can't help ?

It's an inference, not a conjecture.

And it seems to based on reasonable evidence i.e. the number of reported thefts has doubled, it is reasonable to assume the actual number of thefts has increased. Note that the relevant section of the article says a huge increase - a 50% increase would still be huge, let alone 100%.

Unless there was some evidence that suggests there was a reason for an increase in reports, unrelated to the actual number e.g. a change in the method or accessibility of reporting, or as you asked, a change in attitude. Even then it would be unlikely to account for the total amount of increased reports.

Is it about a bicycle ?

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posted by abudhabiChris [467 posts]
1st August 2011 - 12:22

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I've not locked my bike up outside in York since the Bicycle Hub was opened earlier this year. £1 a day and they look after it for you.

www.bikerescueproject.org.uk

Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades. (Merckx)

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posted by obutterwick [507 posts]
1st August 2011 - 14:41

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