Three kinds of lies and some surprising statistics
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), around 320,000 bicycles were stolen in England and Wales during 2018.
This number excludes bike theft during a house burglary, theft of a vehicle with a bike stored inside,
or theft of a bike from inside a vehicle so the actual number will be higher.
How this compares
Over the same period, stolen cars were recorded at 113,000 cars.
I didn’t expect the numbers to show that bike theft outnumbers car theft by approximately 3:1.
After all, nearly every household has at least one car. How many have at least one bike?
Three kinds of lies…
While researching bike theft for this blog post, I was reminded of a quote from Benjamin Disraeli:
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”
What better example of this than in the words of the ONS themselves:
“Bicycle theft is a relatively low-volume offence, accounting for around 2% of all police recorded crime
in England and Wales and around 5% of all crime covered by the CSEW”
Put plainly: a small percentage of a huge number is still a big number.
A low priority crime
What is clear is that bicycle theft is simply not a high priority crime.
Most thieves are well aware that the chances of being caught and
prosecuted for stealing bikes are low: being easy to sell and difficult to trace makes them an attractive target.
According to ONS data, 65% of bike thefts occur from homes and accompanying outbuildings/garages.
Rightly or wrongly, the onus is on us as cyclists to prevent our bikes being stolen,
which is why we’ve developed a range of products to store and protect your bike.
Statistics can mislead but the numbers are clear: a bike is stolen every 99 seconds. Make sure it’s not yours.
ONS = Office for National Statistics
CSEW = Crime Survey for England and Wales