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City of London is worst area for bike theft

Written by: Emma Lunn
Other bike theft hotspots include Cambridge, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, and Oxford.

Specialist cycling insurer Bikmo has compiled a ‘heatmap’ showing the UK’s bike theft hotspots after 74,573 bikes were reported stolen in England and Wales last year.

The City of London was the worst area for bike theft, while West Devon was the safest.

Cyclists can use Bikmo’s bike theft tracking tool to view reported thefts on an interactive heatmap. The incident rates are taken from publicly available police data, while population data is used to give a rate of theft per 100,000 residents.

Cyclists can view theft trends in their local areas, identify hotspots of reported incidents, and make  informed choices about where to safely lock their bikes.

When grouped and split into the UK’s 12 regions, Greater London had the highest rate of bike theft. With 492 thefts per 100,000 residents, this was well over twice the rate of the next worst region – the East of England with 159 thefts per 100,000 residents.

The North West came out as having the lowest rate of bike thefts with just 55. However, the Greater Manchester Police covers many areas of this region and Bikmo says the force has been accused of failing to report more than 80,000 crimes last year, meaning a number of bike thefts are likely to have gone unrecorded.

Following this, Wales appeared to be the safest region with a rate of just 58 – nearly one tenth of London’s.

The City of London was by far the worst single area for bike theft with a rate of 6,345 thefts per 100,000 residents.

Behind this was Cambridge with a rate of 1,531, and the borough of Hackney in East London with 943. Rounding off the top five worst places in the country for bike theft was the East London borough of Tower Hamlets (807) and Oxford (725).

In 2020 the worst location for bike theft in terms of total number of thefts was Hackney, with 2,324 reported thefts – up 46% from 2019. Hackney was also the fastest growing area for bike theft. It had a rate of 644 thefts in 2019, and 943 in 2020, a 46% rise.

Despite a number of statistics showing dramatic rises in bike theft towards the start of the year, the full 2020 data showed that the total number of bikes reported stolen to police in England and Wales was actually lower than the previous three years.

In England and Wales in 2020, a total of 74,573 bike thefts were reported, down 11% from 83,536 in 2019.

David George, Bikmo’s CEO, said: “As more and more people begin to realise the many benefits of cycling during the pandemic, it is only natural that fears around bike theft will rise. We are proud to today unveil a brand new public tool, allowing riders across the country to view annual bike theft rates in their local area and identity hotspots where crimes are being reported.”

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