There were 740,000 incidents of bicycle theft in 2010-11 according to the Home Office British Crime Survey. This represented a seven per cent increase from the previous year. More than half of the thefts take place directly outside the home and 14% of bikes are taken from inside the home. 75% of these thefts occurred during the week and 25% at weekends (a trend that has seen weekday theft gradually increasing since 2003/04).
Figures obtained by car accessories and bicycle retailer Halfords in 2011 show that more bikes are reported stolen to the Metropolitan Police each year than any other police force in the UK.
Halfords obtained the data after making Freedom of Information Act requests to police forces throughout the UK, resulting in the following top ten police areas in terms of absolute numbers of recorded bike thefts.
Metropolitan Police 21,315
Thames Valley 6,060
Greater Manchester 5,185
Avon and Somerset 3,895
West Midlands 3,222
The Halfords data is based on police responses covering either the 2010 calendar year, the 2009/10 financial year, or the 12 months ending February 2011. More up to date national statistics are hard to come by but it is suggested that there has been a reduction in cycle theft between 2012 and 2014.
Bicyle Theft Prevention
Very basic prevention precautions against theft would dramatically reduce the problem. Such cost effective prevention schemes and simple precaustions are found in the links below. Community Safety Partnerships should identify the hotspots - often adjacent to transport termini and support the development of secure bicyle racks and bicycle security awareness.
Design entry for the Design Against Bicycle Theft programme sponsored by the Home Office and the Royal Society of Arts CityRacks Design Competition 2007-08
Bicycle Theft Links
As part of its strategy to identify and share best practice in the field of cycle theft reduction, Bikeoff research generates visual resources to disseminate research findings to cyclists.Leaflets:
Steer clear of cycle theft | Download PDF file (605 K )
Updated May 2015