Where are the safest and least secure places to leave your bike? We have the numbers and locations.

Lockdown has had a dramatic influence on bicycle theft.

Statistics collated by Quotezone.co.uk, drawn from police sources, indicate a 10% reduction in bicycle theft across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Those numbers trace some interesting patterns for 2020’s stolen bike statistics, greatly influenced by the lockdown.

During the early lockdown of 2020, bicycle crime reduced radically. In April, measured year on year, it was 39.5% down.

Read more: the locks you need to keep your bike safe

Traditional hotspots remain

As lockdown was eased and general movement dynamics returned by autumn of 2020, bike theft tallied a small increase, with a 10% increase in September, compared to 2019. The enormous increase in bicycles sales, as commuters desired to avoid public transport and more people were given to riding for exercise, created a larger available stock of bikes to be targeted by thieves.

So where are you most likely to have your bicycle stolen? A deep dive into the police crime data reveals that Cambridgeshire is the hotspot, with 3.9 thefts per 1000 residents. The nation’s capital is in second place, with a ratio of 3.3 bikes stolen per 1000 Londoners, whilst Thames Valley is third, with 2.1 bikes stolen per 1000 people.

In contrast with the most high-risk areas, there are the most secure places to leave your bike parked. Safest amongst these is Dyfed-Powys, with only 0.2 thefts per 1000 residents. In Staffordshire, Devon and Cornwall only 0.3 bikes per 1000 residents were stolen, last year.

More bikes being ridden, but bike crime is proportionally low

Some geographies saw a dramatic reduction in bike crime last year, whilst others suffered an unfortunate increase. In Gwent, Wiltshire and Suffolk bike theft halved in July, whilst West Mercia smarted from an 80% increase in the corresponding period.

The broad bike theft trend is downwards, which is inarguably good news. As active transport and leisure trail riding has increased to record levels (up by 78%), more riders are out and about, potentially creating more theft targets.

Despite riding being at unprecedented levels, bike theft is nowhere near its worst months on record, which were July and August of 2013, followed by July 2017. Those three months saw bike theft numbers peak beyond 10 000 total incidents.