Cycle theft declining, but it remains a problem in many central areas

Shoreditch street-2More than 90,000 bikes have been stolen in London over the past 5 years.

Data from the Metropolitan Police shows that you should keep a keen eye on your cycle in Westminster, which has the worst problem. The large number of people in this central area places it top for many categories of crime.

And having lots of fellow cyclists around seems to offer little security.  Hackney has the highest proportion of cyclists in London but there may be as many bike thieves as beards in the hipster capital of the city.  In the last financial year there nearly 1,300 thefts, althougth there has been a steady improvement since the 2011-12 financial year when nearly 1,800 were stolen.

The Metropolitan Police collates data for financial years, and this shows a reduction in thefts over 5 years across the capital, as there has been in Hackney. In 2011-12 there were 23,144 reported thefts.  In 2014-15 that had come down to 17,285. Annually there’s been a decline of up to 10%.Bike theft trend

Central areas have the biggest problem, as previously reported by Urbs.  In the financial year 2014-15 there were more than 1,000 thefts in the central ring of Westminster, Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Lambeth.  In contrast, Harrow, Bexley and Havering all had fewer than 150 thefts.  The same pattern is emerging in the data for the first 8 months (April – November) of the current financial year.

Bike theft 2015

Data on the prevalence of cycling in boroughs shows that the areas with the most cyclists and the most bikes are broadly the areas where most thefts occur.

cylcing map

The latest figures for April to November this year show that there have been 12,450 thefts in the 8 months. If the same pattern continues then the total will be similar to 2014-15 but the borough numbers are changing. There have been 232 thefts in Barnet in the past 8 months, more than the total for 2014-15 and at this rate the number will be up by 140 this financial year.

Islington and Tower Hamlets may see around 70 fewer bikes stolen if the current pattern continues, Kensington and Chelsea, nearly 90 fewer.

Source data

See also

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