Four-year low for City of London bicycle thefts

2021 ends on a positive note, in the Square Mile, with the City of London Police reporting a four-year low of reported bicycle thefts.

“There were 245 cycle thefts reported from 1 January to 22 December 2021, almost half the number reported during the whole of 2020 (438).”

A drop they put down to their proactive policing and crime prevention activities, most notably their bike marking events.

Around 900 cyclists benefited through the 50 events they held this year, not only with the registering of bikes, but also by receiving bike locks.

On the policing side they have recovered over 30 bikes and the ‘tools of the trade’, including angle grinders and bolt croppers.

Inspector Alexander Wisbey, of the City of London Police, explained further:

“The high number of bikes marked during our events demonstrates our commitment to keeping you and your belongings safe.

“We have also carried out numerous search warrants, and followed leads provided to us by members of the public, which has resulted in over 30 arrests.

“My plea to the public is to ensure they record their bike frame number and register it with BikeRegister or Immobilise. That way, when we recover stolen bikes, we can swiftly return them to their rightful owners.”

Our analysis

Back at the end of 2020 we reported that the City of London Police had managed to recover 80 stolen bikes during that year. They also registered 378 bikes, so 2021 has seen a huge increase in their registration efforts.

As mentioned in our August 2021 post about Met Police crime figures, July 2021 had the lowest number of bicycle thefts since 2016 (for the Met). We are yet to see December 2021 and a complete calendar year, but November 2021 was the worst November since 2012 (if we exclude 2020 data from that calculation).

It’s hard to compare complete years and include 2020 due to the factors surrounding the pandemic and subsequent cycling boom. It’s also currently impossible to accurately say that specific bike registration events (or registration in general) have had an impact that would be visible in any police data. That would require recording, tracing and collecting data on every bike in the country.

The police do need to ensure that holding physical events are cost and time efficient for them when considering overall policing priorities in tackling cycle theft. Community groups and businesses also hold ‘physical events’. Registration and marking kits are available online.

Whilst it’s now the end of 2021 and the bike registration ‘search engine for the police’ has not been launched on time, one is expected (as we highlighted in September 2021). This will connect and modernise the current registration setup in the UK as efforts increase.