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Bike owners have an average of 23 months before their bikes are nicked

But only a third of victims report the thefts to police

Bike security by Abus

One in five bike owners have their new rides stolen within six months, and a third of those whose bikes are pinched do not report the thefts to police.

Research undertaken over the summer by LV= Home Insurance shows that one in five cyclists is a victim of bike theft, and although most expect to own their bikes for ten years, in fact they only get to keep them for two years before they are taken.

Official figures show that bike theft rose by 7% last year, but this may not show the true scale of the problem, given that a third (30 per cent) of victims don’t bother to report the crime to the police.

This is because nearly half (49 per cent) don’t feel it is worth reporting and a quarter (24 per cent) simply don’t think the police will be interested.

Although official crime figures show 114,000 bicycles were stolen in 2013, the actual figure is probably much higher due to so many thefts going unreported.

Home is not the safest place for a bike, as three in ten of those who have had a bike stolen say it was taken from their shed or garage and nearly a fifth say it was stolen from their driveway.

This seems to be borne out in Bristol, where there are fears that a gang is targeting mountain bikers, following riders of high end bikes home from local ride spots and then returning to steal their bikes later.

Over the years we have reported on a number of cases in which professional and semi professional riders in the Bristol and surrounding areas have had their bikes stolen - with the thieves usually targeting only the most valuable items.

London is the worst area for bike theft, with 28 per cent of cyclists having had a bike taken. But various police forces around the country deal with bike theft differently.

We reported how thirty people have been charged and more than £10,000 of property has been recovered in an innovative operation to target bicycle thieves in Aberdeen.

Operation Inchbrae was not just about enforcement, it was a multifaceted attack on bicycle theft.

"We analysed previous bike thefts in the city, looking for crime patterns and trends," said Inspector Thom. "Similarly, we looked at the profile of criminals caught or suspected of stealing bikes and we targeted them.

"Learning from this analysis, we helped raise awareness of bike thefts in Aberdeen by circulating regular information bulletins regarding crime hotspots, recently stolen bikes and crime prevention advice, through local bike shops and cycling clubs, to ensure that we have many more 'eyes and ears' in our cycling community and among residents.

"During the operation we investigated all bike thefts, followed all leads and proactively stopped and checked cyclists, particularly in respect of lighting or road traffic offences, allowing us to check over their bikes."

In Avon and Somerset, police released a video of an officer who played the role of a thief who was able to 'steal' a bike several times in broad daylight without anyone alerting the police - and urged the public to call 999 if they saw bike theft.

Dos and Don'ts

  • Do lock your bike to a secure, immovable object - ideally one designed for the purpose
  • Do make sure the frame and both wheels are inside your lock, or use two locks, or locking wheel skewers on the front wheel
  • Do use a lock, and use it properly even if you are leaving your bike unattended for even a moment
  • Do remove lights and anything else that isn't securely fixed to your bike when you are locking it up
  • Do lock your bike when you get it home, especially if you keep it in a shed or garage
  • Do buy the best lock or locks that you can afford
  • Don't leave your bike unlocked and unattended even if you are just nipping in to shop
  • Don't  lock your bike up in a secluded location where a thief has time to work on your lock undisturbed
  • Don't lock your bike to trees or fences that can be easily cut through, or, posts or signs that it can be easily lifted over
  • Don't leave space in your shackle - that gives space for evil bike stealing tools to do their worst or leave your lock lying flat on the ground for the same reason
  • Don't forget your lock
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