According to police statistics, bike theft dropped by 25.2 per cent from 2011 to 2016. Numbers have fallen from 115,902 thefts in 2011/12 to 86,616 in 2015-16, although it should be noted that a large proportion of thefts are not reported.
Devon and Cornwall has seen the most significant drop in reported theft over that period, from 1,607 to 853 (46.92%). Merseyside saw the biggest rise from 1,895 to 1,951 (2.96%).
Unsurprisingly, the City of London remains the worst affected area in terms of number of bikes stolen per thousand residents, albeit down to 33.95 in 2015/16 from 56.67 in 2011/12. Cambridgeshire is second in 2015/16 with 4.34 reported thefts per thousand residents and Humberside third with 2.33. Dyfed-Powys in contrast recorded just 0.33.
John Moss, who has used the data to compile a stolen bike study at stolen-bikes.co.uk, has been campaigning for several years to get bike theft data into public hands. He told BikeBiz that improvements would hopefully mean more people sticking with cycling in the long term.
"With the news that bike theft has now dropped to its lowest levels in ten years the trade can hopefully look forward to an uptick in those staying in the saddle – 25 percent of bike-theft victims give up cycling."
He also said it was important for police forces and the cycling community to continue with efforts that have led to the decrease – “whether it's making bikes unattractive to thieves through marking and securing bikes properly or helping get bikes recovered and reducing the demand for stolen bikes."
Figures from The Crime in England and Wales Survey has led stolen-bikes.co.uk to conclude that 71 per cent of bike thefts are not reported. This would mean that the total number of bike thefts in 2015/16 was around 296,000.