Data released by British bike insurer Bikmo
last Thursday adds to a growing number of statistics that indicate bike theft is on the rise due to the pandemic.
Bikmo said claims for theft were up 23% from just two years ago in 2020 and theft accounted for just under 49% of its total claims. Bikmo is predicting a further 45% rise in bike theft in 2021. This figure is echoed by stats from North America in the past few months too. The police stats from New York
show that the number of bicycles, including those with electric motors, reported stolen from March through September was 4,477, an increase of 27% from the same period last year.
Meanwhile, police in Chicago
have seen a 6% increase in thefts this year, while the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry has seen a nearly 50% spike. Finally, stats from the Netherlands
indicate that the total number of bike thefts have fallen but the total cost of stolen bikes (€600 million) has increased as thieves target more expensive models.What is fuelling the rise in bike thefts?
These stats can primarily be seen as downstream effects from the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting bike boom. As we've covered many times, as people turned away from public transport and towards cycling as a form of exercise during the lockdown periods of 2020, the number of bikes being sold spiked drastically.
As the number of cyclists, especially inexperienced ones, increased, it meant more bikes were on the streets to be stolen. On top of this, those new cyclists may not have been aware of the widespread extent of bike theft or may not have been taught how to properly lock up their bikes, so they will have made tempting targets for thieves.
The increasing number of cyclists came hand in hand with a shortage of bikes, which caused a resulting boom in the second-hand bike market. This has raised the price of bikes on second-hand selling sites and made bikes more attractive pickings for thieves as they can be quickly and anonymously sold on to people desperate to get their hands on a new mode of transport.
The pandemic also seems to have made smash and grab thefts of shops more feasible for criminals too. In the UK, trail centre hire shops such as those at Laggan Wolf Trax
and Afan Valley
have reported break-ins in recent weeks with total losses coming to around £100,000. A recent report from Bicycle Retailer about smash and grabs in Portland
indicated that increased demand for bikes empty premises and fewer witnesses have made thieves bolder and shops more attractive for break-ins.What can you do to keep your bike safe?
All of this makes for quite depressing news for bike owners as your bike is less safe now than it was in recent years. Below are some tips we've picked up over the years to keep bikes as safe as possible:
- Keep your bike inside whenever possible. If it is outside or in a shed make sure it is locked to something anchored to the ground. Consider an alarm on your shed as well.
- Turn on privacy settings on your Strava and social media so that you aren't advertising where your bike is to potential thieves.
- If you're locking up outside do so with more than one type of well rated lock e.g a cable lock and a D-lock. Make sure any easily removable parts (for example wheels) are locked to the frame or something solid.
- Identify and register your bike with a recovery scheme, make a note of its serial number and make sure you have photos of it, including any distinctive features, as these will help you recover it if it does get stolen.
it's pretty hard to convince the dog shit in the yard to be a helpful member of the family.
We want the world to be a better place sometimes you have to deal with how the world is and not how you imagine it could be.
It's just stuff, I hate having my stuff stolen, really hate the feeling that some f*cker has taken my stuff.
I've had bikes, motorbikes, cars and lots of other stuff stolen, but it is just stuff and I have come to terms with it.
It sounds impotent and unmanly, I should hunt and kill those who offended me, but really, it's just shit and I can buy more shit.
how did obtain your stuff? you buy it? with money? how did you get the money? work? work that you spent your time doing, and also some more amount of your time previously learning the skills to do that work?
what of the above is finite? if you guessed time, you are correct. So, when someone steals something you spent your time to earn, they are stealing a chunk or your most precious and finite resource. time. that is all you truely have in life, is time. So it is very easy to see it as someone stealing a piece of your life.
would you defend your life with lethal force?
I think the issue at hand was that "Petty crimes do not deserve brutal physical punishments doled out by vigilantes" and that is what Bait Bikes are. I'm sure that we all want to see justice served, but bait bikes are immoral. They target the wrong people. someone walking off with an unattended bait bike (that is usually low quality and looks discarded) is very different to someone breaking into your garage, cutting your lock, or driving their truck through the front window of a bike shop. Bait Bike YouTube videos are made for likes and do nothing to deter people from breaking into your house to steal your bike.
If every one of us had the chance to stop someone from stealing our bike, I'm sure there would be some physical force used. I don't think lethal force would be justified in recovering a bike.
The lock currently securing my bike, the locks on my front door, the immobiliser and crook lock on my van all serve as a deterrent of sorts but what's being argued frequently here in typical armchair fantasy fashion is we should meet out disproportionate vigilante justice on bike thieves. I understand that people have to vocalise that fantasy, imagine themselves in a cape chopping the f*ckers hands off or whatever else gives them that retribution boner, the reality is they probably won't catch them red-handed and if they did they would probably come off worse.
All I am trying to say is it might be therapeutic for some to imagine what they'd do, how to redress a crime like this, but that's all it is, hot air. Crime won't stop for all this bleating, so accept that you might get some stuff taken away from you by someone else, try not to care too much about it, it will hurt less if it happens.
Especially when other research and studies published have indicated a decline in theft in the UK.
Incentive drives behavior. We get what we tolerate "as a species". Tolerate dirt bags, get more dirtbags.
No surprise there's a shitload of ex-patriate Brits living here.
There are 2 other points I am trying to make though:
The keyboard-warrior 'nail em up', 'hanging is too good for the likes of them' is probably a good way to vent your spleen, therapeutic and cathartic but wholly ineffectual.
Deal with the people paying for stolen goods, stop the crime at the point of conversion to cash and you have a far more effective deterrent than a bunch of middle aged blokes making empty threats on a bike forum.
Secondly: We have expensive stuff, sure we worked for it, and as I've said above it undoubtedly sucks when someone takes it away undeservedly. It is pretty much a certainty in an unequal and material driven society that this sort of thing will happen. And even if you refute this point, you only need to look at animal behaviours, something that we inherit despite our remarkable evolution, animals steal shit off other animals.
As a species we've attempted to establish rules via religion and philosophy which suppress some of those antisocial behaviours, as they hinder us as living in groups effectively but it's a tenuous set of rules and those who are either under threat or disenfranchised are as unlikely to obey them as those who believe they are above them. Lets face it we've all broken the law at some point.
So I think crime is an unfortunate but inevitable part of society, it's definitely worth trying to combat it, but it's unlikely to be eradicated, so coming to terms with property theft in the sort of society we live in might help us feel less impotent rage and knee-jerk prejudice when it happens. I look at it this way: I have 3 dogs and 3 bikes, if anything has to be stolen I'd prefer it was the bikes.
so either, we fall in line with that, or your example is complete shite.
Thiefs are the scum of the earth, but there is something seriously wrong with deriving enjoyment from the pain and suffering that you cause to others. Then publicizing that online so that you may profit from that suffering through your YouTube views.
**WORST NIGHTMARES EVER!!!**
“Gotta do what you gotta ...............................“
Casey Kasem says... Number 2 Hit.
This video the perps stolen $7K worth of camera equipment when they were driving. They had to know what they had in the car.
I have no idea why it is, but for some reason, bike theft is crazy over there. (OK, I'm suddenly aware that I don't really have any data to back that up. I'm going to keep going like I'm right, but I'm ready to fall on my sword if people who know better tell me I'm crazy.)
Maybe someone who lives there can explain. It's not like other types of crime are worse over there, is it? Why bike theft? I was watching some videos on the GMBN channel on YouTube and they were doing a tutorial on installing security anchors in concrete so you could bolt lock your bikes up in the garage. I couldn't believe that could ever be necessary, but I guess it really is over there.
Guessing you don’t live in Sydney then?
Plenty of stealing to order going on here.
But FWIW I wouldn’t want to go back to the UK either.
Got to be a way to deter these leeches, and get buyers to ask more questions, provide paperwork with bike, tracking chips etc, as someone is buying them...
I can only assume that organised groups have realised that mid/high end bikes are the most efficient way to make an illegitimate living. £1/£2/£3/£4k bikes will still fetch quite a bit on the second hand market either complete or broken down for parts.
What other items do people own that's worth as much?
Car? Due to number plates, immobilisers and ANPR I've never in my life met someone who's had a car stolen.
Jewelry/Electronics? No guarantee people have them or where to find them plus it means actually breaking into the house.
Depressing though it is, stealing bikes is a fairly low risk/high reward endeavour.
I'm fascinated as to where the bikes go. I've read many rumours that they get shipped abroad (for the organised thefts) but never seen any proper evidence for this.
I never leave any of my decent bikes locked up anywhere in public if I can at all help it - and have a specific beater bike to get around on just so I don't care if it's nicked. I used to have a brooks saddle which I had a separate cable lock from the seat rails to the frame just in case. Sounds paranoid but it isn't at all! My shed with the beater is like fort-knox.
To be fair some people do ask for it a bit - I recently confronted a local lady locking her 3k+ ebike to a railing just by the front wheel, and you often see high-value bikes locked with those pound shop locks which I'm pretty sure just yank free with a bit of force. So quite often it's opportunistic too. But there are those who will track people from starva or marketplace, scope out their property and go directly for the bikes - happened to a few people I know.
UK = SHIT! and that's just one reason haha
A van load of tools has a very predictable path once it has been stolen.
Presumably it's the same story with bikes, phones, dogs, motorbikes, catalytic converters, laptops blah blah.
These thefts are enabled by the channels that make the crime profitable, if you neutralise the respective points of conversion to cash, there's no gain in stealing stuff.
It's a pipe dream to do this completely but I know of so many mates who have traced their tools to a local pawn shop in a matter of hours. Putting resources into policing those outlets and similar online ventures would help close down the money making opportunity from theft. It's likely very boring work but having plod keeping an eye on known outlets has to be more efficient than wandering around hoping to catch crooks.
The UK has a high level of wealth inequality, quite overcrowded prisons and a fairly underfunded public sector which is taking its toll on both on effective policing and on youth support and effective rehabilitation.
It's a perfect storm of making crime a viable, alluring and profitable career for some people. You have very wealthy people living very close to very poor and disenfranchised folk, that's gonna result in envy and inevitably property theft.
We can all bleat on about what we'd like to do to 'them' but it would be about as effective as a one man shooting spree on the rat population of London. The problem is a widespread economic one and no I don't have any answers.
Maybe having wealthy areas and shithole areas would work, poverty apartheid, the rich areas heavily policed and the poor areas left to themselves. Maybe reducing the wealth inequality and investing in support for people with less wealth. Maybe martial law, something medieval and disfiguring, though proven not to work over the centuries would make us feel better.
Property theft usually works in a pyramid of profit, in that the prick who nicks our beloved bike makes very little for quite a bit of risk, they are usually the people with the fewest options (No I'm not feeling sorry for them). Then there's someone handling those goods, can be a gang, can be a shop or online vendor or exporter but someone is paying very little, taking less risk and making more profit. And on it goes. You have to break down this system of profit to actually have an effect. You also have to convince the schmuck doing the thieving that they are being played too, and offer something other than a gang or crim-kudos as a viable career-alternative.
Too many people, not enough space, and equality that gone up a hundred fold since the 70's.
Housing costs in New Zealand have more than doubled in the last 10 years. Incomes have not. Won't be long before this sort of inequality crime is rampant here too.
We make the bed we sleep in.
I hope things don't change for the worse around here because it sounds like your average bored 14-year-old from the U.K. could clean out my entire town's mid to high-end bike inventory in a weekend or two with zero risk of getting caught. I mean, nobody around here would ever lock up their bike inside their own garage. I didn't even think that was a thing until recently.
But , as soon as the sun goes down, sheds and garages are prime targets, and bikes , especially if you're insured, must have some pretty serious locking system.
All vehicles, camp sites etc , at night , are at serious risk of theft. I can't remember where, but at a fairly remote race/camp event, a couple of years ago, theives crept
in ,at night, and cleaned out many bikes! (My mate was there,his was stolen)
Aha. Sad that sleep little Adelaide has a growing population of tw@ts
Says a lot about how sleepy Adelaide still is if the cops are chasing this kind of stuff down. Long may it stay that way!
That’s great news. We managed to find a mates’ stolen bike in FB and set up a sting with the local coppers to collect it. Worked a charm
We just need meaningful penalties for bike theft too.
good old Santa Cruz
I managed to call my friend whose bike it was and he shows up about the same time as the police officer, who was a bit of a cyclist and we were buddies with. Luckily my friend had made a police report and the cop told them they could hand it over now, or be arrested for possession of stolen property. So, sadly they were able to walk away, but at least my friend got his bike back.
I always carry my motorbike chain (heavy as f*ck,but indestructible) in my town bike if I must left her in the streets. That and Abus U lock.
A few month ago, Santacruz dealer store in Madrid (LTM) was stolen,all their stuff was gone in 1 night.
There is NO such thing as a well rated cable lock . Cable locks can be cut in under three seconds with cheap tools .
The only two locks that should be considered is a kryptonite or Abus D lock or a HARDENED Chain , 12 mm minimum thickness.
But even those can be defeated in under a minute so , never leave your bike u attended in a public place unless you ride a beater .
it won't stop the theft, but it may aid in recovery.........................
Naturally they got his iPod. He also lost some teeth in the process.
Watch who follows you home (more of a high end road bike thing).
Some big players play the long game. Stolen bikes are kept in storage for years before being sold. The bikes might even change geography. Always ask if you can research the serial number. If its a no, walk.
Did COVID really need to make you wake up and be aware of what’s REALLY around us on a daily basis?
I had my Canfield Brothers Nimble 9 stolen out of my house in 2016. I was livid. At the time I wanted that bike back more than anything I could think of, and I wanted the thief to face "justice", whatever I imagined that to be. My bike was never found, the thief never identified.
Almost 5 years later I'm left wondering what made that person want to break into my house and steal a bunch of valuables. Did they want to ball out with the extra money from selling the stuff they stole? Or were they genuinely financially strained, perhaps trying to take care of a family member while making minimum wage. Or no wage at all, having been laid off. Maybe they'd fallen victim to the opioid epidemic and were blowing their money to get high -- something I have no business blaming them for, due to my middle-class upbringing with basically no exposure to hard drugs.
If their motivation was anything other than the first on the list, would punitive "justice" really be the solution? There's no right answer to this, but for now my plea is for empathy towards those who may have stolen out of circumstance. I think the solution to widespread theft in general has to be sweeping, systematic, and humane. There's always more to the story than the individual.
They are more often than not part of organised gangs and thefts are planned well in advance. In most cases I have heard of, thefts have occurred in conjunction with a consistent time that person is away from home. For example, one family I am near to had a break in between 7 and 8pm and had two cars and several other valuables stolen. That family was always away from home at 7 and 8pm in an evening. 7-8pm in the evening is not a normal time for home break in to occur. Bear in mind this home was heavily alarmed and on a busy road. This is not coincidence and by chance. The burglars are organised and will scout and watch addresses over several days/weeks in order to decide when to strike. They are often premeditated as well in the way they know exactly what they are looking for. I cannot talk for where you live but applying your mindset to thefts in the UK is daft and certainly not true 99 times out 100.
There was a story, maybe it was on here or perhaps it was on another news outlet of where a girl had a bike stolen and it had a built in tracker on it so they traced it down to a gypsy site, challenged the "boss" there and he pointed over to a massive stack of bikes and said someone just left them there. So in regards to the increase in thefts and people being worse off, I dont agree with this correlation. Theres an increased market for bikes, both new and used so therefore stealing them becomes more attractive as it means more sales. Smuggling cars out of the country is harder and probably fetches similar or less money than some top end bikes.
So in short, your opinion may be relevant to where you live (must be a nice place) and certainly not relevant to the majority of the UK and i suspect, most other places.
And if you own a Volkswagen Golf GTD, GTI or R or any performance Audi n the UK, just accept at some stage it will be stolen.
But I'd like to consider your example a bit further. If those gangs are like the ones in the US, most of the members don't want to be living that life. In places like Baltimore a typical gang will have maybe a few "high-ranking" members who are actually bad people, and the rest were just born into the hustle, their communities so neglected they never felt that they had a different choice.
So yeah, I feel for the members of that gang as well. And if this is true, that the systematic factors are more to blame than the individuals, it's surely not a rose-tinted way to look at the world. It means we as "functioning" members of society bear a much greater responsibility in fixing these problems, rather than shrugging them off because those who steal are simply the "scum element". But the one little bit of optimism I suppose is that we have the option to view it as an opportunity to materially improve the quality of life for everyone. And that's something I think is worth fighting for.
This will typically give you a lower deductible. I have a $100 deductible on all of mine and insure them for full replacement cost.
Nevertheless, truly sucks for everyone.
Yes, we lock up a lot of people for the wrong reasons. Drug possession shouldn’t result in jail terms. But theft and property crime that have real consequences absolutely should result in jail time. In our zeal to be “just” we have essentially removed any meaningful punishment from a wide variety of real crime. Like burglary of an occupied dwelling. Out here in internet land the idea of restorative justice works, but in the real world dirtbags just use it to work the system. Meanwhile people who will never be impacted by their crimes give them a free pass out of a misplaced sense of sympathy.
I could never afford an S-Works so it’s ok to steal one...
I saw people in the streets in all cities of EU,in some more people than others,but nothing to compare. Sometimes you have a like "ghetto" hood or area,but still there zombi population is low.
We don´t have meth in Spain being smoked like pot,people here use it in very different way,going party. Worst thing is people who smoke cocaine,those near by the sellers.
At the end it is really sad to see young kids living like that ruined by that cheap rat poison.
@tacklingdummy, that does seem to be the issue. last year on MSM all around the world countless videos and reports of people just walking into stores in America stealing stuff which they had no right to take without payment all in the name of racism and its normalized and condoned by your politicians.
@tacklingdummy , @danielstutt What do you reckon is worse? Petty theft in the streets, or millions of dollars in daily wage theft by the world's billionaire CEOs (Making 300x the wage of your typical employee is robbery.)? Especially when you consider some amount of the former is a result of the conditions brought about by the latter. And yet politicians accept the campaign donations from these criminals, and have for decades. Their crimes have never been treated as such in the "MSM", instead they're put on the cover of Forbes.
It's interesting, I've personally held many of the same jobs you've had. But I can still be empathetic and sympathetic to the plight of hundreds of millions right now for not being allowed to work, or laid off, or fired. You'd be surprised the lengths you would go to to keep a roof over your head and food in your stomach. I'm not condoning theft, I'm just saying I can relate to the desperation since the title of the article is specifically about the bike theft increase related to COVID.
In my area (SF Bay Area), bike theft and theft in general in my area has been going on a ton well before COVID. My car has gotten broken into four times in las couple of years. I know businesses that have gotten broken into a dozen times in last 10 years.