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Bike thefts soar as organised criminals target cyclists

Written by: Emma Lunn
Claims for bike theft have risen by 125% in the past three months, according to the latest data from insurance company Urban Jungle.

The company, which provides insurance for renters and people sharing homes, saw a big surge in claims in the three months leading up to October.

The data is taken from claims made to Urban Jungle from its 20,000 customers. It shows that claims in London are up higher than the national average, having increased by 129%.

Jimmy Williams, CEO of Urban Jungle, said the nature of the claims suggests much of the crime is pre-planned, rather than opportunistic.

He said: “The claims we are receiving aren’t from people who have left their bike outside a pub or shop, or who forgot to lock it. They are cases where criminals have clearly turned up prepared, with bolt cutting tools, and whisked the bike away in a hurry.

“Some thieves are not averse to jumping into back gardens or breaking into sheds. Criminals have also worked out how to get into the council-owned bike hangers.

“Criminals know how to spot an expensive bike and can dispose of them quickly by selling them online. They are organised, fast and efficient. Also, they know there’s a big market for bikes right now, as cycling is increasingly popular, meaning demand has outstripped supply.”

Four ways to reduce the risk to your bike

  • Join Bike Register

The UK’s national, police-approved registration scheme is free to join and has close to one millions registrations. You’ll receive a free sticker to add to your bike to deter thieves. If your bike is stolen, you can report it online and share details via social media.

  • Lock up

Buy a decent lock and always lock your bike if you leave it unattended. It’s best to keep bikes indoors, especially if they are expensive, but if they are out in the open, make sure both the wheels and the frame are secured to a permanent structure.

  • Park carefully

Your bike is far less likely to be stolen if you lock it somewhere well-lit and busy, or with CCTV surveillance. Also, avoid leaving it outside overnight. If that’s unavoidable then get a cheaper bike.

  • Remove accessories

Remove any lights, bags or other easily removed attachments, as thieves can sell them. Designer saddles and front wheels are also prime targets, especially if they are high quality.

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