Result of Huntingdonshire bike theft survey

During the summer, Cambridgeshire Constabulary ran an on-line survey in the Huntingdonshire District to gather information from people who had been victims of bicycle thefts in the previous 12 months.

The intention was to see if any patterns emerge that will help both the police and the public, so that crime prevention advice can be targeted more precisely in relation to places, times, and any other factors that appear to be significant in the theft of bicycles.

There are 5 key messages that we would like to highlight:

• Most bike thefts happen at your own home – including from the garden, shed or garage;

• In one third of cases, the bikes were not locked;

• In nearly a third of cases the stolen bike was a very expensive item, worth £500 or more;

• Bike thefts peak in the summer months of June, July and August;

• Three-quarters of bike theft victims have since taken steps to improve their bike security, such as by using better quality bike locks, but also through other common-sense actions like making sure shed or garage doors are kept locked.

The following graphs show the results of the survey:

Location of Theft:

Graph 1

Over a third of bike thefts are from your own home.

In Which Town or Village was the Bike Stolen?

Graph 2

Not surprisingly, most thefts occur in the three main towns in the District: Huntingdon, St Neots and St Ives. If the survey had included Cambridge city, the number of thefts there would have dwarfed the other towns and villages: there are typically over 2,000 bike thefts in Cambridge every year.

Was The Bike Locked When It Was Stolen?

Graph 3

In a third of cases, the bike had been left unlocked. Bikes should always be locked to an immovable object whenever they are left unattended, including when they are put away in a shed or garage at home.

What Quality of Lock or Other Security Was Fitted to the Bike?

Graph 4
Police recommend that the quality of the security should reflect the value of the item. If you have a very valuable bike, you need to spend a lot more on its security than you would on a cheap old bone-rattler. Two different types of lock are normally best: a D-lock and a good quality cable or chain with a padlock.

What Was The Bike Locked To?

Graph 5

 

It is always best to secure the bike tightly to an immovable object so that it cannot easily be moved. Make sure the two locks catch the bike frame as well as both wheels and the solid object you are locking it to. Locking it to itself is really no good at all – it can be just lifted and carried away.

What was the Approximate Value of the Bike?

Graph 6

 

Nearly a third of stolen bikes are worth £500 or more, and half are worth more than £300.
When Did the Theft Happen?

Graph 7

Afternoons, evenings and night-time are when most thefts occur.

Graph 9

There seems to be a steady decline in the number of thefts as the week progresses, with Mondays being the worst.

Graph 8

The summer months of June, July and August are the peak period for bike thefts.

Did You Replace The Stolen Bike?

Graph 10

 

It is sad to see that a third of people didn’t replace their stolen bike – it indicates that their life-style was affected by the theft and the bike was no longer an important part of their routine, whether it was used for commuting, weekends out in the countryside, or just popping down to the shops.

Was The Replacement Bike…

Graph 11

 

It seems that most replacements are on a like-for-like basis, although some people trade up and some trade down…

Have You Invested in Better Security for Your Bike?

Graph 12

 

It is good to see that three-quarters of people improve their bike security after having experienced a theft.

How Have You Improved Your Bike Security?

Graph 13

Better locks are always a good idea, ideally two: a good quality D-Lock and a robust cable or chain with a padlock. But doing the obvious things is important too, such as locking shed or garage doors. ‘Advanced Security’ methods such as installing CCTV and motion sensors at your home are also an option.

Have You Changed Your Cycling Habits in Any Way?

Graph 14

A lot of people do change their cycling habits after a bike theft, but not always in a good way.

How Have You Changed Your Cycling Habits?

Graph 15

It is sad to see that quite a few people use their bikes less as a result of a theft, but other changes are for the better, such as taking greater care of the bike and the things in it or on it.

ADVICE ON HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BIKE

You can do a lot to reduce the chances of your bike being stolen and to protect the investment that you have made in it.

There is lots of advice on the new Cambridgeshire Constabulary website at:

https://www.cambs.police.uk/information-and-services/Cycle-crime.aspx

Is your vehicle winter ready?

Later this week the clocks will be going back (Sunday, 29 October) and that means the driving conditions that you’ve become accustomed to in recent months will change. The nights will start to draw in and the roads will inevitably become more dangerous.

To combat the early nights, bright mornings and unfavourable road conditions Cambridgeshire Constabulary Casualty Reduction Officer Jon Morris has compiled a list of checks you should carry out as soon as possible in order to ensure your vehicle is prepared for the cold winter months.

Tyre pressure

Tyres are arguably the most important factor when it comes to your vehicle moving. The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the centre three quarters of the tyre.

Tyre treads are designed to give good grip on wet roads but this decreases as a tyre wears down or as the depth of water increases. Drivers should take this into consideration and reduce their speed accordingly in wet conditions

A quick and easy way to see if your tyre tread exceeds the minimum legal tread depth is to take the 20p test. Simply place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit. If the outer band of the coin is visible, then your tyres may be illegal and unsafe and should be checked immediately by a qualified tyre professional.

20p_check_comparison_opt

Making sure your tyres have the optimum air pressure within them is crucial.  Check the required pressure of the tyres, which can vary according to load carried by the vehicle too. This should be done when the vehicle has been standing for some time. Warm tyres can cause tyre pressures to become elevated and manufactures quote the pressures of cold tyres.

To find the specifications for your tyres check your manual or inside your vehicle door. Check and adjust your pressure at your local garage or filling station.

Engine levels

With cold weather comes the possibility of ice, not only on the roads but inside your engine too.

coolant antifreeze tank under engine hood

Keep your engine topped up with enough coolant of the correct strength to keep it running to the best of its ability in poor conditions.

Ensure your washer bottle is topped up and add a washer fluid to prevent the water freezing as temperatures drop.

If you’re unsure of what coolant you need to suit your vehicle go to your local garage or vehicle shop and they will be able to advise you. If you’re unsure of where the coolant goes, open your bonnet and check for the cap that has the thermometer in a squiggly line. Pour the coolant into the reservoir until it’s between the ‘max’ and ‘low’ marks. Never remove this cap when the engine is hot as scalding water can be ejected.

 

Light checks

Checking your lights work is something that you should do regularly. Check your headlights, brake lights, indicators and reverse lights so other road users will be aware of what you’re doing and where you want to go at all times. This will reduce the risk of an accident.

Vision

In the morning the sun will be lower and in the evening it will be darker. Set aside an extra five minutes or so to ensure your vehicle is fully defrosted and your vision is as good as it can be before setting off. It is a good idea to keep a pair of sunglasses in your vehicle to reduce the glare from the sun. On rainy days it can reflect off wet roads.

Don’t be tempted to leave your engine running to clear windows when your vehicle is unattended: you may come outside to find an opportunist thief has made off with your vehicle.

Keep some de-icer and a window scraper handy but ensure the whole window is clear of ice. Don’t be tempted to just clear a small patch. Window covers can be fitted to keep frost off your windscreen.

Driving to the conditions

Cold and wet roads can make for more dangerous manoeuvres so ensure your speed matches the conditions of the road, particularly on corners where turning can become treacherous on slippery surfaces.

I cannot stress how important these checks are in making sure that your journey, of whatever length, is as safe as possible for both you and other road users.

Supporting victims of hurricane Irma

PC Den Williams from Ely and PC Ross Beesley from Wisbech have just returned from the British Virgin Islands following the catastrophic damage caused by hurricane Irma feeling humbled by the three week experience…

“The world watched as hurricane Irma took hold of the Caribbean and travelled across the North Atlantic killing more than 120 people with winds of up to 185mph at the end of August.

News bulletins and social media sites were awash with images and videos showing the pure devastation hurricane Irma had left behind but nothing could prepare us for what we were about to witness.

We volunteered, along with more than 50 other officers from across the country, to offer mutual aid in the British Virgin Islands and flew out from RAF Brize Norton to Barbados on 9 September.

Words cannot describe the devastation. We saw it on the TV before we left but you are detached from the pictures and videos. It’s not until you are there that you can smell the sewage in the street, you avoid puddles not knowing if the power cable lying in it is live or not.

We saw 40ft containers that had been thrown around, homes without roofs and what was an island full of lush greenery turned into something like what you would see in a Hollywood movie.

Yet the people were still upbeat. Despite losing everything themselves they were committed to helping others. There was one woman in particular, Janet, who left her own teenage children to come to the aid of those in a children’s home.

With around 40 per cent of the islands police force unable to work because of the devastation caused to their own lives, the majority of our time was spent at banks to stop looting and robberies or at supermarkets and fuel stations to prevent panic buying.

The moment we landed and our presence was known, we were starting to make a difference. We were able to take some control and allow everyone to get on with try to rebuild what they had lost.

It wasn’t long after we arrived that we were put under a 24 hour curfew as hurricane Maria struck the islands.

Our efforts soon turned to offering reassurance to members of the public, giving people lifts from hospital and interacting with the families and children.

We were so touched by the community they were working with that we got in touch with the Police Federation and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, and were able to secure a donation to purchase books, toys, pens and pencils for the children.

The best part of the trip was seeing the small difference we were making. Seeing the children’s faces when you presented them with small gifts, playing ball with them. You couldn’t put a price on it.

Being in 40C heat, wearing full body armour and not being able to wash above the neck because of the E.coli in the water was a low. We were living without the basics but we had a roof over our heads, were fed and watered which is more than most had out there.

One of the things we will take away from the experience was a line from a gentleman who had lost his home, his belongings, everything. He said; ‘I’ve got life and as long as I have that, I can rebuild everything else’.”

Nessa

[Courtesy of HealthTalk – http://www.healthtalk.org/]

From the age of 17 Nessa was in an emotionally abusive and controlling relationship with her children’s father. She also experienced physical abuse from a subsequent partner. Although the marks on her skin from the violent attacks she endured have faded, the psychological effects of the emotional abuse continue to impact on her sense of self.

Nessa experienced emotional-psychological abuse and controlling behaviour during her five year relationship with the father of her children. He made her feel unattractive and that no other man would want her because she had ‘stretch marks and two children’. Her partner dictated the clothes she wore, didn’t allow her to wear makeup and made it difficult for her to keep in touch with family and friends. She describes his behaviour as increasingly paranoid. She felt lonely and no longer knew who she was. Nessa ended the relationship after her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and her partner tried to limit the time that she spent with him.

A few months later Nessa began a new relationship with an old friend. During this nine month relationship her partner subjected her to regular violent attacks. For example, pushing, slapping, head butting and hitting her with the metal buckle of his leather belt. This physical abuse often took place in front of her children. Nessa minimised and excused his behaviour to herself, friends and professionals (such as the police and social workers). It wasn’t until they broke up that she accepted that his behaviour was abusive and that what he had done ‘was really wrong’. This time, the trigger for the end of the relationship was the intervention of Social Services which followed a phone call she made to the police during one physical attack.

Two months on Nessa flinches all of the time, she doesn’t like men sitting too close to her and feels that she now has ‘trust issues’. Her confidence and self-esteem continue to be dented by her experiences of abuse. Her children, as witnesses to the abuse, are also affected. For example her daughter is wary of men and lacks confidence and her son sometimes displays violent behaviour, such as slapping and throwing things. However, her friends and family have been encouraging her to go out to pubs and clubs with them, which is helping to boost her confidence and both she and the children are feeling happier. Nessa has also found attending the Freedom Programme useful. It has helped her to realise that there are other women in the same situation and that she is not ‘the person to blame’ for everything that has happened to her.

Initially reluctant to have the involvement of Social Services, Nessa now accepts that her negative ideas about them were wrong. She continues to regularly receive support from her social worker and a support worker from the local domestic abuse service, who have helped her in many ways, such as providing a listening ear, arranging a place for her on the Freedom Programme, and helping her to access bereavement counselling.

Nessa wants to tell other women currently in an abusive relationship that ‘no matter how hard it is …there is a light at the end of the tunnel and just keep focusing on that light and try to get out of it, because it really, it really is worth it’.

Click here for audio and video with Nessa – http://www.healthtalk.org/peoples-experiences/domestic-violence-abuse/womens-experiences-domestic-violence-and-abuse/nessa.

Bike thefts – reducing your chances of becoming a victim

On average across the UK, a bicycle is stolen every 60 seconds. In the St Ives area, between two and three are stolen on average every week.

We have recently analysed reports of bicycle thefts in the St Ives and Ramsey area over the last three years and come up with some interesting results:

Where are bikes stolen from?Where are bikes stolen from

 

 

 

 

 

On which days are bikes most stolen?Which days

 

count of time

 

 

 

At what times are bikes most stolen?

 

 

 

 

 

Were the bikes locked?Count of locked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bike theft facts (St Ives and Ramsey data):

  • Roughly 40% of bike thefts are from people’s homes (including gardens and garden sheds)
  • Bike thefts occur most at the beginning of the week
  • Bike thefts occur most at night or in the evening
  • In over a third of cases, bikes were not locked when they were stolen

Protecting your bike

You should always lock your bike whenever you leave it unattended, both at home and at your destination:

  • Lock your bike to a cycle rack, post, or another immovable object. It’s always best to use two different types of lock – this makes it harder to steal as the thief needs different tools for each lock. Police recommend a good quality ‘D’ lock together with a robust chain and padlock
  • Choose a busy, well-lit area, with lots of passers-by, rather than a quiet, dark corner. Ideally, use designated bike parking facilities or choose an area with CCTV coverage
  • Lock your bike tightly so that it cannot easily be moved and make sure the two locks catch the bike frame as well as both wheels and the solid object you are locking it to.
  • Take with you any items that can be removed without tools such as wheels, lights, pump, saddle etc
  • Don’t leave your bike in the same place every day

Are your locks up to the job?

Use the best quality locks that you can afford, taking into account the value of the bike. It really is not sensible to use a cheap £5 lock on a bicycle worth several hundred pounds or more. You should expect to spend at least £30 or £40 on a good quality ‘D’ lock that cannot easily be sawn through or cut off with bolt-croppers. You can also obtain a lock with a built-in audible alarm for about £30.

Register your bike

If you register your bike, you stand a much better chance of getting it back if it is ever lost or stolen. You can register your bike and other property free of charge at Immobilise. It only takes a couple of minutes and all you need is your bicycle model, make and frame number.

You will find the frame number either:

  • On the bottom of the frame, underneath the pedals, or
  • On the frame near the handle-bars, or
  • On the frame where the seat-post fits, or
  • On the frame towards the back wheel

(Other bicycle registration services are also available, such as Bike Register)

Mark your bike

You should mark your postcode onto the frame of your bike in two separate locations, one of which should be hidden. The police occasionally run ‘bike days’ when they will do this for you for free – keep an eye on social media sites for notifications. Alternatively, you can do it for yourself with a stencil kit that can be bought for a few pounds. The kit comes with a warning sticker to fix to the bike frame, which is itself an excellent deterrent to potential thieves.

Ultra-violet (UV) marking kits are also available – these allow you to place marks on the frame which are invisible under normal lighting conditions and only become visible when illuminated with UV light.

There is also a device called a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag available which you attach to your bike by inserting it into the tube of the frame beneath the seat and is virtually impossible to remove. The tag contains a unique electronic identification number which can be ‘read’ by the electronic scanners used by the police. The unique number is logged on your bicycle Registration Account along with the rest of your details.

Perhaps the ultimate anti-theft device for your bike is an invisible GPS Tracker. This can be fitted inside the handle-bars of the bike and you activate it whenever you leave your bike unattended. It interacts with an app on your mobile phone and allows you to pinpoint your bike’s location to within a few metres.

Technology is constantly developing and new security, marking and tracking devices are constantly being developed. Keep an eye on the specialist bicycle magazines and web-sites for the latest innovations!

Buying second hand

Unfortunately, there is a thriving black-market in the sale of stolen bicycles. If you are looking to buy a second-hand bike, don’t be conned – look for the signs that indicate that something may be wrong:

  • Do the seller and the bike go together? You should ideally meet the seller face-to-face, preferably at their house or place of work, and ask yourself whether they seem genuine.
  • Do the parts match? Thieves will often damage a bike to make it easier to steal. Does the front wheel match from the back? Is the frame number missing or are there any signs it has been interfered with? Has the bike been re-sprayed? These are all indicators that something is wrong.
  • Does the seller have proof of purchase? Are there any receipts, manuals, guarantees or insurance documents?
  • Are there any security markings on the frame? In addition to the frame number, there may be a postcode marking or RFID security tag on the bike. If any of these are damaged, or if the information doesn’t match that of the seller, warning bells should ring in your mind.
  • Be very suspicious of an unexpected bargain – it may just be too good to be true.

Useful links

Here are some links to web-sites that provide advice and guidance on safeguarding your bike:
Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Immobilise

Spot the signs and change the story – Tyrone’s story

Only younger brothers will understand me. We’re following in the footsteps of older brothers. You are looking up to your brother. You want to do the same things. You want to do as good as he and do it even better…

But we have different characters, different way of thinking, even if we are similar. We are not cloned.” – Wladimir Klitschko

Wayne was 18 and the man of the house. His dad was long gone and he needed to provide for and protect his family. But it’s a bit difficult for him to do that now that he’s dead.

Wayne was a drug dealer. But he wasn’t just a dealer, he used drugs too. Which led to him overdosing in 2015, leaving behind his two younger brothers. But that’s not all he left behind. He also left a very large drugs debt to his bosses.

Wayne was a drugs runner for a London organised crime group who were running a county line into Cambridgeshire.

Daryl, Wayne’s younger brother, looked up to Wayne, he wanted to follow in his footsteps and be like him. Not even a year after Wayne’s death Daryl was doing just that when the police found him in a 45-year-old drug user’s house, supplying him with heroin.

Daryl frequently skipped school. He’d been found hanging around shops and streets many times but had never been found with drugs on him. He had started wearing jewellery and seemed to have access to more cash and clothes.

Unfortunately Daryl did not learn from this first experience with the police and was arrested again in similar circumstances in Suffolk and Lincolnshire.

There had been a lot of gang rivalry in Cambridge and Daryl had run over a rival dealer in in a gang feud to protect his drug business. This led to his arrest and his current residency in prison.

Tyrone, the youngest of the brothers, is now 12. He has lost both his brothers, one to an overdose and one to prison, all because of drugs. Tyrone frequently runs away from home and has been displaying the signs of county lines criminality.

But the story can and will be different for Tyrone. The signs have been spotted early and partner agencies, including a local children’s charity, are working with him to make his story end differently. To ensure he has a different way of thinking and that he is not a clone of either of his brothers.

Would you know how to spot the signs of drug dealing in your local community?

Would you know that someone was vulnerable to exploitation by drug dealers?

Here are some questions to consider:

 

  • Have you seen something you think could be drug related but are not sure?
  • Do you know someone who is being forced or asked to deal drugs?
  • Do you know someone who is saying they have a drugs debt?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes you should call police on 101 or report it online at www.contactcambspolice.uk/Report/.You don’t need to give us your name. Just tell us what you know – even the smallest amount of information could be the piece of the puzzle we need. Calls can be dealt with anonymously. Or you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

If somebody is in immediate danger or a crime is taking place you should always call 999.

You can find out more about county lines on our county lines web pages.

While this article is based on real life examples all characters and events in this story are fictional and have been created to deliver information about county lines criminality.