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:
Over a third of bike thefts are from your own home.
In Which Town or Village was the Bike Stolen?
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?
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?
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?
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?
Nearly a third of stolen bikes are worth £500 or more, and half are worth more than £300.
When Did the Theft Happen?
Afternoons, evenings and night-time are when most thefts occur.
There seems to be a steady decline in the number of thefts as the week progresses, with Mondays being the worst.
The summer months of June, July and August are the peak period for bike thefts.
Did You Replace The Stolen Bike?
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…
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?
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?
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?
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?
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: