BIKE thefts in Cambridge are expected to rise this month because of the thousands of students who are arriving for university. Figures seen by Cambridge News show that October is the worst month for cycle theft.
There were 1,433 cycle thefts in the city between January- July, prompting a police crackdown on the crime, but there is a massive increase in bikes being stolen during autumn as 30,000 university students arrive in the city.
In October 2006 and 2007, more than 300 bikes were stolen, and this compared to 140 in April 2006 and 170 during the same month in 2007 and 2008. The figure fell to around 225 last year, but due to the increase in bike thefts in other months this year police are expecting a record number this month.
Cambridge City Councillor Lewis Herbert has called for more secure areas for cyclists to leave bikes and told Cambridge News: “I hope the publicity campaign helps but I am still worried and very concerned at risk of a major outbreak of thefts in the autumn and the high theft figures through 2009.
"There is organised theft across the city of bikes not locked to fixtures and the problem of new bikes and new students in the autumn. Cycle theft is probably the biggest readily reducible set of crimes in the city and as Cambridgeshire Chief Constable Julie Spence and others like me have said, it needs a far tougher set of initiatives to crack it."
Sgt Gordon Morgenthaler of Cambridgeshire Police has teamed up with Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge Cycling Campaign as well as cycle shops in the city to raise awareness about the crime, and he is asking people to register their bikes on immobilise.com.
Almost a quarter of student cyclists at universities in the UK have been the victim of a bike thief, according to research carried out from M&S home insurance.
The survey found that 14 per cent of students have been burgled while at university and 22 per cent of student cyclists have had their bikes stolen. Despite this, only 16 per cent of students have taken out an insurance policy to cover their possessions whilst living in student accommodation.
M&S Head of General Insurance Steve Price said: “Cycling has grown in popularity in recent years among green-minded students who want to save money and do their bit for the environment. Unfortunately bikes are a prime target for thieves and cyclists should take basic security steps to decrease the risk of becoming a victim. Simple measures like leaving your bike in a well-lit area and using a good quality lock can deter a would-be thief.”
M&S Money offers cyclists the following security advice - register your bike model, make and frame number, contact local police for advice, store your bike in a secure garage or shed and keep the door locked, avoid leaving your bike in isolated or dimly lit places, always lock your bicycle, secure removable parts, and lock both wheels and the frame together.