The website Stolen Bike Statistics was launched yesterday, and plots every reported bike theft in England and Wales using police crime report statistics.
Users can plug in their postcode and view how many bike thefts have been reported in a one-mile radius of their home or workplace. The site also plots multiple strikes at the same locations, meaning you can avoid hotspots (often around universities or large work bases such as hospitals).
More than 7,800 bike thefts were reported in May 2013, and the site will be updated every month with the latest figures. The website has been set up by John Moss, founder of the www.stolen-bikes.co.uk blog.
Each report is given a red, yellow or green dot. Red means the police have ceased investigation, yellow means the case is under investigation and green means a positive outcome. And, despite the fact that each case is currently under four weeks old, red dots dominate the map.
“The green dots are the good outcomes, if you like,” Moss said. “The red dots are where the police have just given up and said we can’t do anything more – it demonstrates just how quickly they’re giving up.”
Moss said he set up the website to remind bike owners to take measures to keep their bikes safe: “It’s really just to highlight that bike theft is a big issue. What I find is a lot of cyclists don’t bother to record their frame numbers because they don’t think that bike theft is going to happen to them.”
He added that some cities can be plagued by bike theft gangs. “If you look at Leicester you can see that what seems to happen is that part of the city is bike theft heavy and the other half is completely clean – it’s almost like only a couple of people are causing the issue. That seems to be the case in the majority of cities. I think it’s a group of people stealing bikes from specific areas. If you look at it it’s clustered around universities and large employers like hospitals.”
Moss has also launched an online petition to force police to release the frame serial number of every stolen bike. The development would mean prospective second-hand bike buyers could check a potential purchase against a list of recorded thefts.