Tuesday, 19 February 2008

"I'll have that"

This is a picture of Bessie, my previous bike, which Burglar Bill made off with, just before Christmas.

According to the British Crime Survey, there were 482,000 thefts of a pedal cycle last year. Yes, you did read that correctly: nearly half a million. Equivalent to around one in eight of the number of new bikes bought.

Bicycle theft affects around one in 50 households each year (1.8%); and around one in 25 bicycle owners. The numbers seem to bounce up and down a bit from year to year, so it's not too difficult to make a case that the rate is either rising or falling (or fairly stable). 11% of households that have one bike stolen, then have a second or even a third stolen in the same year. So in case Bill is reading this, I should point out that my new bike is much more strongly secured.

What is surprising to me is that only a third of bicycle thefts are reported to the police - that's down from two-thirds reported ten years ago.

Around 2,000 offenders are caught each year for the theft of a pedal cycle, almost all of whom are male; with 35% aged between 15 and 18; and 20% aged under 15.

Strictly speaking, though, our loss of Bessie would be recorded as a burglary, not as the theft of a bicycle, because Bill made off with other stuff as well at the same time. However, whatever way you look at it, poor Bessie is now just a statistic.

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