ECONOMY

London’s ‘violated’ cycle theft victims post own impact statements

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ycle theft victims are posting their own impact statements online because they have been “forgotten” during the crimewave sweeping London.  

Campaigners from Stolen Ride said the emotional and psychological affect is just as serious as any financial loss, with some elite models worth £5,000.

Bike thefts have surged during the coronavirus pandemic with the highest number reported in south west London, according to new data.

Admiral home insurance revealed stolen cycles accounted for 32 per cent of all claims since March 2020, compared with 14 per cent the previous year.

London is the cycle theft capital of the UK with the city’s east, north and south east areas also in a national top ten.

Twickenham, Sutton, Watford, Croydon, Dartford, Enfield, Bromley, Uxbridge, Romford, Harrow and Ilford suffered the most thefts within the M25.

Commuter Harriet, from Islington, mugged at knifepoint for her electric bike on the way to work, wrote in her victim impact statement on the Stolen Ride site: “I was threatened with stabbing.

“The robbery has left me nervous and I now cycle wearing a personal attack alarm.”

Delivery rider Telle, of Walthamstow, added: “I was using my bike for work whilst I was on furlough from my job.

“The theft has taken away my freedom and aid to mental stability through a physical workout.

“It was gifted to me by my partner who busted his gut to pay for it.”

Rosie, from Wandsworth, made unemployed during the pandemic, said friends had to crowdfund a replacement cycle.

She added: “I live in a flat in a gated mews. Having my bicycle stolen from the bike racks inside felt like a violation of my basic human need to feel safe.”

Latest Met figures show 26,402 bicycles were stolen between February 2020 and March this year, with offences peaking in September (3,129) – the highest on record.

This compares with 22,203 from the previous 13 months – a rise of 19 per cent. 

All figures are likely to be a considerable underestimate. 

Francis Graham, 26, toured the city, stealing bicycles

/ Francis Graham

In November, a prolific thief who stole a bike from a hospital worker during the pandemic in a “one-man crimewave” across London was jailed for two years.

Francis Graham, 26, toured the city, stealing bicycles from offices, specialist cycle shops, and one from the grounds of a luxury hotel.

Richard Cantle, founder of Stolen Ride, said: “Disturbing cycle theft crime numbers and stolen bike social media posts are visible to all. But what is not visible is the impact the crime has on individual lives, both short and long-term.

“I urge everyone to widely share these statements with the authorities, to grow awareness and help fight back against cycle theft.”

The Met said it takes every incident of bicycle theft seriously and recognises the distress caused to victims.  

Latest Met figures show 26,402 bicycles were stolen between February 2020 and March this year

/ AFP/Getty Images

A spokesman said: “We are also aware that for many, this can be a main form of transport and can therefore greatly disrupt their everyday lives.

“When a report is received officers will carry out every reasonable line of enquiry to recover the property and bring any suspect to justice.”

Transport for London has launched a partnership with Halfords offering 15 per cent off the firm’s own-brand bike locks.

The offer, which can also be used to buy lights and helmets, is open to people who complete TfL’s online cycle skills course.

A page dedicated to preventing bike theft is available on the Met’s website – https://www.met.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/theft-of-a-bicycle/how-safe-is-your-bike/

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