One in 20 crimes in Milton Keynes relates to bike theft, new data reveals

Bike theft numbers have dropped during lockdown, but remain a problem.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 4:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 4:10 pm

After Milton Keynes Central station was named the worst place in Britain for bike theft in 2016, new data shows significant improvements

The city has seen a sharp drop in bike theft over the last year, according to the latest figures from he Local Government Association.

During the 12-month period up to September 2020, Milton Keynes experienced a 30% decline.

Bike thefts decreased during lockdown

But despite the improving numbers, the data shows bike theft remains one of the most prevalent crimes in the area.

Nearly 1 in 20 crimes in Milton Keynes between March 2020 to February 2021 were bike theft-related, which is double the previous year’s figures of 1 in 40.

The data, collated by Lawtons Law, criminal defence solicitors in Milton Keynes, encompasses the first six months of Covid restrictions and the peak spring/summer cycling season.

With restrictions beginning to ease, residents are being encouraged to remain vigilant and invest in the appropriate security measures. Recent ONS data found that over half (51%) of all bike thefts in the UK involve bicycles not locked or secured. The majority (27%) of unsecured bike theft victims state they simply “never thought about it or got round to it”. While 13% did not own a lock.

Nick Titchener, criminal defence solicitor at London law firm Lawtons Solicitors, said: “Unfortunately, suspects aren’t being identified because there’s usually no relationship between themselves and the victim and it’s a relatively low-priority crime. On top of this, owners often don’t document the ownership of their bike, making it difficult to prosecute even if the perpetrator is caught."

He added: “It’s essential that you document your bike to help you recover it in the case of theft. Keep your receipt, make a record of the serial number and register your bike with a bicycle marking and registration scheme. This will enable the police to trace your bike back to you if it is stolen and recovered.”

How to avoid falling victim to bike theft, use a heavy-duty D-lock. Ideally buy a lock that costs a third of the value of your bicycle.

Or you can use two different high-quality locks. This would make it more awkward for thieves as they would have to use different types of tools to remove them. Recommend is a heavy-duty D-lock and a robust chain or cable

People should also lock both the frame and wheels to the cycle parking, and secure their bike as close to the stand as possible. The bike needs to be difficult to manoeuvre, with no leverage points for thieves

Any quick-release parts with such as saddles and wheels should be removed, along with the bike's lights. Bikes themselves should be registered.

Chris Smith, managing director at Pendle Bike Racks, said: “Hopefully you will have registered your bike with BikeRegister and placed a security mark on your bike. The mark serves as a visible deterrent, because the owner of a marked bike can be traced and the odds of arrest/prosecution are significantly higher.

"It also makes the stolen bike much more difficult to sell. If you happen to find your freshly stolen bike on a social media marketplace, resist the urge to go vigilante! As tempting as it might be to bang down the door and take back what is rightfully yours, the police are there for a reason."

“Lock all parts of your bike (not just the frame) to a secure bike rack using a top-quality lock. We recommend looking for the Sold Secure gold or diamond class locks. Also make sure you check out the bike rack. Cunning thieves have been known to cut sections out of steel stands and cover the gaps with stickers – then pluck a locked bike away with consummate ease.

“If you can’t get your lock around them, remove all quick-release items from your bike and take them with you – for example your seat post, lights or your front wheel. Quick release is a great system for the rider, but unfortunately it is great for the thief as well.”