Reported bike thefts in the England, Wales and Northern Ireland fell by 21 per cent in the year to the end of June, according to new analysis of official crime statistics – representing 19,000 fewer stolen bikes.
The analysis was carried out by UK CrimeStats on behalf of price comparison website Quotezone.co.uk, and was based on data collected by the Economic Policy Centre.
In total, 71,000 bikes were reported stolen to the police in the year to end-June 2020, compared to more than 90,000 in the previous 12 months.
While the figures show a downwards monthly trend, a spike was observed in June, which ties in with figures we have previously reported on from Bike Register, which noted a near-50 per cent rise in reported thefts that month, attributed to lockdown easing.
According to the UK CrimeStats figures, there were 6,870 reported thefts in June, up from 5,700 in May. Meanwhile, the monthly average was 5,915 for July 2019 to June 2020, down from 7,513 for the previous 12 months.
And in keeping with earlier observations, the first full month of lockdown – April – saw the lowest number of recorded thefts across the two-year period, at 4,046; by contrast, the highest number was seen in July 2018, with 9,910 bikes stolen.
Greg Wilson, founder of Quotezone.co.uk, which provides a price comparison service for cycle insurance, said: “It’s really positive to see such a significant drop in the number of bike thefts, especially when bike sales have spiked due to the pandemic and the subsequent push for people to get fit and lose weight – at a social distance.
“Hopefully this latest trend marks a continued decline in petty crimes like theft and burglaries, with lockdown teaching us a renewed sense of community spirit and fuelling the revival of local support networks such as neighbourhood watch.
“Although the total number of bicycle thefts is falling, the risk of theft hasn’t disappeared, which is why we’d encourage people, especially if they have made a significant investment in new bicycle equipment in recent months, to double check that their home insurance covers their bike,” he added.
“If their bicycle isn’t covered, or if the single item limit on their home insurance policy means the coverage isn’t enough to meet their needs, we’d advise them to look into a standalone bicycle insurance policy for their new wheels.”
Last month, James Brown, managing director of Selectamark, which runs BikeRegister, commented on the similar trends it had observed in the first six months of the year, saying: “Thieves will have struggled to commit crimes during lockdown due to the restrictions that were in place.
“However, as these restrictions are starting to ease and people are moving around more, criminals are facing an easier task, and they have the bonus of being able to target the thousands of new bikes bought during the last few months.
“Registering on BikeRegister means you could be reunited with your bike in the event of it being stolen,” he continued. “Most importantly, to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of cycle theft in the first place, security marking your bike is also recommended, as it is a proven theft deterrent.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.