Specialist cycling insurer Bikmo has unveiled new data from the police, showing a drop in reported bike thefts in England and Wales of 10% from 2020 to 2021.
This comes as the insurer updates its bike theft tracking map for public use. Available to all for free, riders across the country can now view reported thefts for 2021 on an interactive heatmap.
The drop in reported theft is part of an emerging pattern, said Bikmo, with rates decreasing year-on-year for the past five years. A number of factors may be responsible for this latest drop, including changing habits due to the pandemic with fewer people commuting into towns and cities.
Bikmo’s own data from its Open Project for 2021 saw a rise in the number of claims being made for bikes at home. These made up for just 10% in 2019, 18% in 2020 and now sit at a quarter of claims for 2021.
London has come out on top as the worst region in England and Wales for bike theft, with an average of 390 thefts based on the rate per 100,000 people. In 2021, a total of 21,521 bikes were stolen in London (down from 24,350 in 2020).
In 2021, the worst location for bike theft in terms of raw numbers was Tower Hamlets, with 1,784 bike thefts, followed by Hackney with 1,621 and Cambridge with 1,565.
Across England and Wales, there were a total of 67,116 reported bike thefts, down from 74,573 in 2020. This comes despite high profile spates of bike theft, including the specific targeting of Brompton bikes in April of this year.
Yesterday, it was reported that theft from a bike shop in Gloucestershire resulted in the loss of £30,000 worth of bikes.
The second worst region for bike theft in 2021 was the East of England with a rate of 138 bike thefts per 100,000 people. The safest region when it comes to bike theft, according to the publicly available police data, was the North West with a rate of just 52 per 100,000 people.
David George, CEO of Bikmo, said: “In our mission at Bikmo to protect the world’s cyclists, we’re focused on being proactive – not only putting riders back on a bike when theirs is stolen but educating our customers and community about the risks in their area and what they can do to reduce them so they can continue to enjoy their ride.
“The Bike Theft Map is a key part of that mission and after seeing how popular the 2021 map was with customers, riders across the UK, and the Police Force alike, I’m proud that we’re continuing to invest in a great tool to support riders across the UK.”
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Mark Cleland, UK cycle crime lead for British Transport Police, said: “It is promising to see cycle crime reducing despite the huge uptake in bike sales over the last two years. With the launch of the national double lock it campaign to encourage bicycle owners to secure and register their bikes both at home and away and more cycle crime reduction partnerships being implemented in towns and cities across the UK to tackle crime, it is all contributing towards supporting our cycling communities.
“Of course there are still cycle crime hotspots that we’re focussing our attention on and we are working with organisations such as Gumtree and the Bicycle Association to disrupt organised crime.”
The Bicycle Association’s Stephen Holt said: “It’s good to see a reduction in reported bike thefts, but it remains a significant issue for cyclists and bike retailers alike. As an industry we are working with our members and UK Police to identify ways to help tackle the problem.”