New statistics from a bike registration company claim that more than 2 million bikes are stolen in North America each year.
The 529 Garage works with more than 1,400 law enforcement, city, university and bike shop partners to create a database from which they have drawn these statistics. The company has surpassed one million searchable bicycles worldwide, and describes itself as the world’s largest bike registration program. J Allard, a former Microsoft executive, founded the company five years ago in Portland, OR., with the vision to cut North America’s $500-million bike theft epidemic in half by 2025. The company aims to hit five million bikes by 2022.
Here are four key stats from their latest published research into bike thefts in North America:More than two million bikes are stolen each year in North America.
Project 529 claims that 2 million bikes are stolen across North America every year. That works out at roughly 4 every minute or one every 15 seconds. They also claim this figure has doubled since the turn of the millennium.Bike theft costs North American communities
Bike theft seems to be a lucrative business with limited risk for the perpetrators however with the bike thieves making big money, there's a big loss for American communities. The cost goes way beyond just the value of the bike though with a quarter of stolen bikes used to commit a secondary crime. All in all, it adds up to a reported $1 billion per year cost for American communities each year.Bike theft reduces cycling levels
Project 529's figures indicate that a quarter of all victims of bike theft cycle less after the crime has been committed, with 7% of cyclists stopping altogether. Of those cyclists that do carry on riding, 20% buy a cheaper (or stolen) replacement. Most stolen bikes aren't reported to the police.
The research claims that only 20% of stolen bikes are reported, meaning the crime has lower prioritization by the police. The police actually recover hundreds of thousands of bikes a year but only 5% are ever returned to owners as the bike thefts aren't reported and less than 20% of owners know their bike's serial number.
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