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Data visualisation highlights scale of bike theft problem in England & Wales

Meanwhile, Oxford and Cambridge are named university bike theft hot-spots

A data analyst has used police data to produce a visualisation that starkly illustrates the scale of bike theft in the England & Wales. Meanwhile, separate analysis of data from the same source has revealed that  more students at the University of Oxford fall victim to bike theft than their counterparts at any other leading higher education institution in England.

Chantilly Juggernauth, who is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvanyia, created the graphic using software from Tableau, which named it Visualisation of the Day on 20 September.

Cycle theft in England and Wales visualisation.png

Click here to find the visualisation on the Tableau Public website.

The statistics, taken from police data, underline just how serious the issue of bike theft is.

In three-quarters of cases, no suspect is identified, and only 1.5 per cent of the more than a quarter of a million thefts during the period led to the thief being convicted.

Sadly, one in four victims of bike theft decided to give up cycling afterwards.

The spike in October is noteworthy, and we suspect could be due to thieves targetng university cities as the new influx of students arriive, many of whom will buy their first bike since childhood and may not be aware of how to lock it up securely.

> Beginner's guide to bike security—how to stop bike thieves and protect your bike

The bike lock brand Hiplok has analysed police data to produce a league table of the levels of bike theft at 30 of the leading universities in England.

The methodology is unclear - in a city such as Oxford or Cambridge, it's clearly difficult to identify what constitutes an "on-campus" theft, and there are other higher education institutions in each of those besides thee universities for which they are world famous.

Moreover, as the two cities in England with by far the highest proportions of people cycling, they make attractive hunting grounds for bike thieves.

We suspect that if you added all the higher education institutes in London together - so not just the ones on the list, but also places such as Goldsmith's or Brunel - the city would come out on top.

Still, it's an interesting exercise, and should sound a note of caution to those studying at universities on the list.

England universities bike theft league table.png


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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