Bike crime down by half, but Wandsworth still the worst London borough

Bike protection: PC Chloe Bruton

Bike protection: PC Chloe Bruton

First published in News
Last updated
Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter covering Wandsworth

There were more bike thefts in Wandsworth than any other inner London borough in the past 12 months, a report has revealed.

A crime and disorder assessment, published last month, found more than 1,800 cycles were stolen while unattended in the street, with Balham and Thamesfield the worst affected wards.

However, Wandsworth’s safer transport team has been cracking down hard on bike thieves.

An array of methods have been used to combat the criminals targeting bikes, including patrols of cycle theft hotspots and the use of "decoy bikes".

Decoy bikes, or tracker bikes, are when police leave badly locked or unlocked bikes in hotspots. They are often fitted with tracking devices helping officers trace the thieves.

They have also been monitoring websites such as eBay and Gumtree where stolen bikes are often sold.

PC Chloe Bruton, from Wandsworth’s safer transport team, said: "We get people to register on Bike Register. You literally just pop along to a police station and get your bike marked and it only takes a couple of minutes.

"It gives them a unique number - like a number plate. It will come up with the person’s name, email address and actual address."

When asked why thieves targeted bikes she said: "Most bikes are expensive. Bikes these days cost anything up to £6,000.

"Thieves can sell them quickly now on Gumtree or eBay. We get people calling up all the time saying ‘my bike is on Gumtree’."

As well as registering your bike PC Bruton recommended using a gold Sold Secure lock, which grades its locks from gold to bronze, rather than cheap alternatives because they can easily be cut with bolt cutters.

Their hard work has been paying off and, from April 1, 2014, to August 2014, compared with the same period last year, bike thefts from public places reduced by 51 per cent.

In the same period all cycle thefts reduced by 44 per cent, 577 down to 319, which is the biggest reduction achieved in all London boroughs.

A council spokesman said: : “When you take account of population size Wandsworth has the sixth lowest cycle theft rate among the inner London boroughs. 

"This is serious concerns for our residents and we work closely with the local police force and our crime prevention partners to raise awareness about cycle theft and the steps people can take to protect their bikes. This includes a rolling programme of cycle security marking and advice sessions."

Police bike marking events are advertised online at met.police.uk/teams/transportsw/wandsworth.

Wandsworth Guardian:

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