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Bike theft falls by 11.5%, according to figures from more than 40 UK police forces

There were 64,500 reported bicycle thefts in the UK in 2021, compared to 72,920 in 2020

Bicycle crime fell by 11.5 per cent in the UK in 2021, according to new data from more than 40 police forces across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In total, the figures show 64,500 reported bicycle thefts in 2021, compared to 72,920 in 2020, as per the bicycle crime data compiled by the Economic Policy Centre, shared via insurance comparison platform Quotezone.

Theft hotspots stayed fairly consistent in 2021 as London's Metropolitan Police area registered the most reported bicycle thefts — with more than 21,000 in the capital alone.

Thames Valley followed with 4,170 reported stolen bicycles, while Cambridgeshire registered 2,590 thefts.

At the other end of the scale, Wales continued to register some of the lowest numbers of thefts.

Dyfed-Powys cyclists were least likely to be a victim of theft, with just 130 reports to the police department in 2021. North Wales and Gwent also featured in the five lowest areas for bicycle theft, alongside Cumbria and the geographically minor City of London area.

Cambridgeshire, London Metropolitan and Thames Valley were also the most likely places for thefts according to population number.

Speaking about the figures, Greg Wilson, founder of Quotezone, said: "While these figures are encouraging and crime rates are generally low across the country, they're reported thefts only - many stolen bicycles aren’t reported to the police.

"We’d expect the new changes to the Highway Code in favour of cyclist safety to encourage more people into the saddle and onto the roads. 

"With what we hope will be our first normal summer in almost three years, with limited covid restrictions, we should see a flurry of cycling activity as those who invested in a bicycle over lockdown take to the streets." 

The UK experienced a post-lockdown spike in cycle thefts in 2020, with 32,700 bikes officially being reported stolen between March and November 2020. However, the actual number was estimated to be closer to 113,000 when accounting for unreported thefts.

> More than 110,000 bikes stolen in Britain since pandemic began

In London, in September 2020 alone, bike theft trebled, with over 3,000 bikes reported stolen, compared to just over 1,000 in April.

At the time, Direct Line estimated that 71 per cent of people do not report thefts so the actual figure could be well over 100,000.

The latest figures suggest a cooling in cycle crime, even if the numbers remain eye-wateringly high.

Worryingly, however, in recent months we have reported on more incidients of thieves using tools, such as angle grinders, to cut through locks and steal bicycles.

 In November, thieves were filmed using an angle grinder to take a Trek bike locked outside Surrey Quays shopping centre. The masked gang appeared unfazed by crowd of bystanders and fled before the police arrived.

Two weeks later similar footage emerged from Tower Hamlets, also in London, and showed a balaclava-wearing thief cutting through a lock, unperturbed by a bystander filming the crime.

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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