Victims of ‘raped’ London bike theft issue own impact statements
Victims of ycle theft are posting their own impact statements online because they were ‘forgotten’ during the crime wave that swept through London.
Stolen Ride activists said the emotional and psychological effect was just as bad as any financial loss, with some elite models worth £ 5,000.
Bicycle thefts have increased during the coronavirus pandemic, with the highest number reported in southwest London, new data shows.
Admiral home insurance found that stolen cycles accounted for 32% of all claims since March 2020, up from 14% the year before.
London is the bicycle theft capital of the United Kingdom, with the city’s east, north and south-east regions also in the national top ten.
Twickenham, Sutton, Watford, Croydon, Dartford, Enfield, Bromley, Uxbridge, Romford, Harrow and Ilford suffered the most from thefts in the M25.
Suburban Harriet, of Islington, assaulted at knife point for her electric bike on the way to work, wrote in her victim impact statement on the Stolen Ride site: “I have been threatened with stab wounds.
“The theft made me nervous and I am now driving with a personal attack alarm.”
Delivery man Telle, from Walthamstow, added: “I used my bike for work while I was off work.
“Flying took my freedom and helped me with mental stability through physical training.
“It was given to me by my partner who broke his stomach to pay for it.”
Rosie, from Wandsworth, unemployed during the pandemic, said friends had to fund a replacement cycle.
She added: “I live in an apartment in a closed meow. Having my bike stolen from the indoor bike racks felt like a violation of my basic human need to feel safe.
The latest Met figures show 26,402 bikes were stolen between February 2020 and March this year, with violations peaking in September (3,129) – the highest on record.
This compares to 22,203 of the previous 13 months, an increase of 19%.
All the figures are probably considerably underestimated.
In November, a prolific thief who stole a bicycle from a hospital worker during the pandemic in a “one-man crime wave” across London was jailed for two years.
Francis Graham, 26, toured the city, stealing bikes from offices, specialty bike shops and one on the grounds of a luxury hotel.
Richard Cantle, Founder of Stolen Ride, said: “Bike theft crime numbers and stolen bike social media posts are visible to everyone. But what is not visible is the impact of crime on individual life, both short and long term.
“I urge everyone to share these statements widely with the authorities, to raise awareness and to help fight bike theft.”
The Met has said it takes every incident of bicycle theft seriously and recognizes the distress caused to the victims.
A spokesperson said: “We are also aware that for many it can be a primary form of transportation and therefore can significantly disrupt their daily lives.
“When a report is received, officers will conduct all reasonable investigations to recover the property and bring any suspects to justice.”
Transport for London has launched a partnership with Halfords offering 15% off the company’s own-brand bicycle locks.
The offer, which can also be used to purchase lights and helmets, is open to people who complete TfL’s online cycle skills course.
A dedicated bicycle theft prevention page is available on the Met website – https://www.met.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/theft-of-a-bicycle/how-safe-is -your-bike /