London cycle thefts up 75 per cent in four months say police

Bike thefts rocket as criminals get into cycling too

by Kevin Emery   August 12, 2009  

Ollie the tea-leaf

Cycle thefts in central London have risen by a whopping 75 per cent in four months according to The Met. Among the worst hit areas are Cavendish Square, off Oxford Street, Soho Square and the streets between Covent garden and the Strand, with thieves targeting more quieter location not covered by CCTV.

The Met says the surge is down to the growing popularity of riding to work and an ever growing market for stolen bikes. It warns that some cyclists are failing to protect their bike properly and suggests employers could help by providing secure storage for cyclists.

The trend is a blow to efforts to encourage cycling in the city, which has seen the number of cycle commuters rise rapidly. There has been a 107 per cent growth in cycle journeys in London since 2000 according to Transport for London, with a nine per cent rise since May last year. An estimated 545,000 cycle journeys are now made every day.

Research indicates a bike is stolen in the UK every 65 seconds and the boom in cycling has created rich pickings for bike thieves, with a fair proportion of stolen bikes ending up on the second-hand market or the internet.

Met crime figures, covering the financial year 2008/09, show 18,218 cycles were stolen over the period - a 1,036 rise on the previous year. The figures show the 20 London wards with the most bicycle thefts, and the worst-hit include the West End and St Jame’s, both in Westminster, as well as Bloomsbury, Holborn and the Bunhill ward in Islington, while Cathedral’s in Southwalk and the Grove ward in Kingston are also high on the list.

The most serious problems are in Westminster, where increased patrols had failed to curb a rise in offending which has seen 426 cycles stolen since the start of April, compared with 244 in the same period last year.

Ways to beat the thieves, say the Met, include using more than one strong lock and avoid cheaper products that are easier for thieves to remove, removing detachable parts such as saddles and wheels to stop them being stolen and to make the cycle less attractive, have bikes marked and keep a note of the frame number, try not to leave expensive bikes on the street and use cheaper alternatives, and ask employers to provide secure storage space for bikes at work

 

16 user comments

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Talking of cycle and on a similar note I was stopped while cycling through Bristol two days ago by two police officers on foot, one of whom jumped out in front of me while cycling up past the bristol marriott (in the bus lane near cabot circus for you fellow bristol residents).
Anyway, it was raining and I was on my felt ar4, I was wearing clip in pedals, I ahd a giro ionos helmet on, jawbones, waterproof trousers and a nike acg cycling jacket. He stopped me because, I quote "you dont really look like a cyclist do you mate". Apparantly this is what they do, they stop people who are on expensive bikes but dont appear to fit the image. I explained that as it was chucking it down I wasnt likely to be wearing lycra. I also suggested that they should stop people in baseball caps with trousers tucked into their socks riding around town on £2000 cannondales...clearly stolen. The response was "thats a bit judgemental"! Bike crime is going through the roof and the police are so inept that they stop proper, equipped cyclists and then get defensive when asked why they dont stop those who clearly have nicked bikes. Hmm...rant over.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
12th August 2009 - 11:46

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Interesting logic from our friends in the force. Wasn't it a 'judgement call' based on your appearance that led them to stop you in the first place… Confused Thinking

Denzil Dexter's picture

posted by Denzil Dexter [140 posts]
12th August 2009 - 11:54

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Thats where the conversation went afterwards. Im all for them flghting cycle crime, I am more for it than most having been the repeat victim of it but its so half hearted and aimed at the wrong people. They know who commits the crime but choose not to target them.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
12th August 2009 - 12:21

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"... targeting more quieter location not covered by ..."

*grinds teeth*

I've never been stopped by the police. Does this mean that the image in my minds eye of me looking like some buffsome road warrior is inaccurate, in that I actually look like some kind of scallywag?

posted by anotherdeadhero [17 posts]
12th August 2009 - 12:55

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I was stopped on Saturday out near Failand with the
same ploy .... but .... blue lycra bib-shorts, Astana
s/s jersey and ionos lid on a trek 1.9 !!!!

Ho-Hum ... at least I was stopped so something appears
to be being done ... wonder if they'll ever find my
Mountain Cycle Fury :-p

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [698 posts]
12th August 2009 - 12:58

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Maybe the police were acting on intelligence, about a new breed of bike thief, that they aren't able to share with members of the public Big Grin

Although I can't help feeling that they are missing a trick by failing to think completely outside the box… a more effective use of police time would be to disrupt the villain's activities before they nick the bikes – it'd be easier too, they aren't going to be able to run very fast if they are sliding around on their Look cleats and they are going to be very conspicuous clopping unsteadily around town centres in pro team Lycra…

Okay, there would be room for the occasional misunderstanding with this approach… club tea stops might attract some unwelcome attention from the rozzers, with mass arrests and the like, but hey! You can't make an omlette without cracking a few eggs!

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [152 posts]
12th August 2009 - 13:19

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Love the idea of mass arrests of club runs ... :-]

MTB riders have have the harder life what with all that
brown, black, grey, green baggy gear we (ooppps) wear !

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [698 posts]
12th August 2009 - 13:25

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Quote:
Okay, there would be room for the occasional misunderstanding with this approach… club tea stops might attract some unwelcome attention from the rozzers, with mass arrests and the like, but hey! You can't make an omlette without cracking a few eggs!

Well, if they are going to go around dressed like bike thieves I'm sure most right thinking people would say they were asking for it m'lud

hammergonewest's picture

posted by hammergonewest [105 posts]
12th August 2009 - 13:32

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Mass arrests on club runs… the music from Benny Hill is suddenly playing in my head

On a bike somewhere…

thebikeboy's picture

posted by thebikeboy [138 posts]
12th August 2009 - 13:57

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Who is it in the picture? That dodgy Oli character?

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
12th August 2009 - 14:16

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Yep, he's our all-purpose scallyswag

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4136 posts]
12th August 2009 - 14:34

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looks very convincing.

Mass arrests on club outings, if thats what it takes to get these pesky cyclists off our streets....oh, no, its the thieves we want to lock up...hmm

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
12th August 2009 - 14:35

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I'll have you know I'm a fully qualified hoody-wearer....and I only carry those bolt croppers around with me in case I lose the key for my lock Big Grin

Oli's picture

posted by Oli [102 posts]
12th August 2009 - 14:39

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Some years ago someone stole the costly suspension forks from my mountain bike. When I range the cops to report the theft, I was told, "I could probably tell you their names," by a bored cop who seemingly didn't give a stuff.

I went out and managed to track the thieves. The cops were again disinterested in recovering my stolen property when told. I don't advocate vigilante behaviour. but I was pretty annoyed that the cops didn't think the crime serious enough to warrant their attention. And I know the thieves graduated to bigger crimes as I continued working in the same area and was able to monitor their progress.

Ah, but the cops act on intelligence we don't understand. they really wanted the guy who stole my forks to move on to drug dealing so that they eventually had to batter down his door, which I also saw as my office was right opposite his home.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2194 posts]
13th August 2009 - 9:21

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Quote:
Ah, but the cops act on intelligence we don't understand. they really wanted the guy who stole my forks to move on to drug dealing so that they eventually had to batter down his door, which I also saw as my office was right opposite his home.

Yeah, they probably score more points against their government targets for breaking down a drug dealer's door than nabbing a bike thief… Thinking

hammergonewest's picture

posted by hammergonewest [105 posts]
13th August 2009 - 9:32

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Definitely avoid using ANY cable devices for securing your bike with chinese cropper toting hoodies around. And make use of one of the public Bike Registry services off the net if you want more than of an ice cubes chance in he&% of getting it back when (not if) nicked...

andy42's picture

posted by andy42 [14 posts]
13th August 2009 - 17:37

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