Bikmo has today launched an interactive bike theft tracking heatmap, combining police data and population data to find the best and worst areas for bike theft in England and Wales in 2020.
The aggregated data confirms that 74,573 bikes were reported stolen across the two countries, down from 83,536 in 2019.
The free tool, which is available to all, highlights hotspots for reported bike thefts throughout the year.
Bikmo has separated the raw data into 10 regions; nine of which spread across England, with Wales considered a region by itself. The Greater London region came out worst, with a claimed 492.24 thefts per 100,000 residents, more than double that of the East of England in second place.
In fact, Greater London recorded more thefts per capita than the North West, Wales, the West Midlands, the South West, the East Midlands and the North East combined.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a boom in cycling, the number of people on two wheels has increased exponentially over the past year, which in turn should have meant more potential victims of bike theft. However, according to the data, the total number of reported bike thefts has actually fallen year on year. Despite the early months showing a spike in thefts, it seems lockdown is one law that bike thieves will abide by, as the total number finished down 11 per cent.
Bikmo has committed to continually update the tool, enabling cycling's ever-growing community to continually identify hotspots in their area.
"The new tool will be regularly updated to provide an ongoing resource to members of the public," explains Bikmo CEO, David George. "We hope this will be useful to the fast-growing number of riders, and help increase awareness in high-risk areas.”
The data isn't without its questions, though. It puts the North West as the safest region, however, Bikmo openly concedes that the data for this area is likely skewed by the Greater Manchester Police's failure to report 80,000 crimes throughout the year.
As a result, when you go into more granular detail, four of the top five safest areas fall in the North West region, including Salford and the City of Manchester itself. The safest area outside this region goes to West Devon with just seven thefts per 100,000 residents, closely followed by Torridge - also in Devon - with nine, and Ceredigion in Wales with 11.
Unsurprisingly, the worst areas sit within the Greater London region. The City of London recorded 6,345 thefts per 100,000 people, more than four times as many as second-place Cambridge, although this figure is likely skewed by the business district and comparative lack of residents. Coincidentally, despite being the second-worst area, Cambridge is 554% down year on year, experiencing 6950 fewer thefts than in 2019.
While the number of thefts fell year on year, the increased number of bikes on the road is likely to mean an increase in theft once the country reopens and normal life resumes. To reduce your chances of your pride and joy becoming someone else's, make sure you equip yourself with knowledge and the correct tools.
Our guide on how to prevent bike theft should be your first port of call, and if locking your bike in public, it's imperative that you know how to lock a bike properly and use the best bike locks for the job.
The best bike insurance will mean that, should the worst happen, you aren't left completely out of pocket, and if you want to take a comprehensive approach, the best bike GPS trackers will give you a chance of getting your bike back if it finds itself in the wrong hands.
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