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Where is the worst place for bike theft in the UK?

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Josh Cunningham
5 Dec 2016

Police data from across the UK reveals which locations suffer the most bicycle thefts

Records gathered by police forces across the UK between September 2015 and September 2016 have shown that a total of 82,000 bikes were stolen - or at least reported as stolen - in those 12 months. That's 227 every day, or almost 1,600 per week, with 72% of cases closing with no suspect identified, meaning 72% of thieves effectively 'got away with it'.

Places like shopping centres, colleges, hospitals and car parks were among the most likely place to have your bike stolen, but the worst place to leave your bike is apparently Elder Gate, a road next to Milton Keynes railway station. Over the 12 month period 72 bikes were stolen from the designated bike parking area, with a further 19 stolen from other locations on the road.

Meridian Square next to Stratford railway station and Westfield shopping centre in East London was a close second, with 71 bikes recorded as being stolen.

On a wider scale, the town where your bike is most likely to be stolen is Cambridge, with 2,173 thefts, and based on council areas the top five also includes Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford and Hackney. Per 1000 residents and the figures show that while Cambridge is still top with 16.6 thefts per thousand, Oxford then slots into second with 9.1 thefts per thousand, and Hackney third with 5.4.

If London and its 33 borough councils were accounted for as a whole, it would total a massive 18,000 thefts, or nearly a fifth of the nationwide figure.

And the safest place to leave your bike? West Devon, apparently, where there were only four bike thefts in the 12 month period.

'When you contrast the cycle theft rate for Oxbridge with England and Wales, it’s abundantly clear these university towns are as popular with thieves as students,' says Rob Basinger of Protect Your Bubble, who commissioned the research. 'There’s no safety in numbers, either. In towns like Cambridge, a high number of cyclists results in a high number of thefts.

'Bike theft is a nationwide issue but there are some streets that stand out as having a particular problem. Commuters leaving bikes at railway stations for any length of the time stand a chance of being targeted.

'If you have to leave your bike on the street then make sure it is locked securely and, as with any item of value, if you think it may be at risk then consider taking out insurance for extra peace of mind.'

Bike thefts by location

Top Bike Theft Locations in England & Wales – October 2015 to September 2016

Rank

Location

City/Borough Council Area

Number of Thefts

1

Elder Gate

Milton Keynes

72

2

Meridian Square

Newham

71

3

Station Road

Cambridge

63

4

Ring Road North

Birmingham

62

5

Parkside

Cambridge

52

6

Commercial Road

Portsmouth

51

7

Brunel Way

Slough

50

8

Piccadilly

Manchester

49

9

Chartwell Square

Southend-on-Sea

47

10

Arundel Street

Portsmouth

46

Bike thefts by borough

Bike thefts September 2015 to October 2016 

Rank

City/Borough Council area

Number of Thefts

1

Cambridge

2,173

2

Manchester

1,874

3

Birmingham

1,502

4

Oxford

1,456

5

Hackney

1,440

6

Leeds

1,353

7

Cardiff

1,340

8

Bristol

1,295

9

Tower Hamlets

1,222

10

Westminster

1,185

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