'Very welcome news' as fall in bike thefts sustained against lockdown sales boom

Punishments are more likely to be handed out for bike thefts than for rape, Suffolk police data has

Data showed a 35.2% drop in residential bicycle theft in Suffolk between June 2019 and June 2021 - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A fall in bike thefts was sustained in Suffolk despite a record boom in ownership during successive lockdowns, new figures suggest.

Crime data compiled by the Economic Policy Centre showed a 35.2% drop in residential bicycle theft in Suffolk between June 2019 and June 2021– the 12th biggest fall in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

According to the figures, there were 57 thefts in June 2020 – just one more than the same month of last year.

While there were six months of 2018 in which more than 100 thefts were reported, only July 2019 had more than 100 thefts in the last two-and-a-half years.

In May 2021, the Bicycle Association reported that sales had risen 25% year-on-year, while the aggregate value of bikes had gone up 40%.   

Across the UK, the number of thefts between April and June 2021 was almost 19% lower than during the same period of 2019. 

Greg Wilson, founder of Quotezone.co.uk, which launched one of the UK’s first comparison services for bicycle insurance, said: “It’s very welcome news that the number of reported bike thefts is still significantly down from pre-pandemic levels, despite the gradual easing of lockdown measures in most parts of the country.

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"The falling crime rate is particularly positive given the sharp rise in the number of bike sales during lockdown, which could offer more options for opportunistic bike thieves if cyclists don’t take the necessary precautions."

A police spokesperson said crime statistics varied from a local area perspective, but added: “Our officers work hard to target bicycle thieves and reduce offences.

"Unfortunately, some people choose not to report bike thefts to police. However, the information we receive from victims, and members of the public who witness suspicious activity, allows us to identify crime patterns, dedicate resources and implement more effective prevention and enforcement responses.

“Losing your bike to an opportunistic thief can be hugely impactful to a victim."

Police urge owners to use high quality locks, lock bikes to firm structures, leave them in view of CCTV, take photos to be circulated in the event of a theft, and record the serial number to register at immobilise.com.

Local policing teams also hold regular free bike marking events to increase the chances of owners being reunited with a stolen bike.

More advice can be found on the Suffolk police website.