The stealing of bicycles is on the rise according to a report on Telegraph.co.uk. Only 1 in 50 cases are being solved, as the data of UK’s government agency Home Office shows. The newspaper claims that even seemingly easy cases do not get solved. Even if the police are presented with CCTV footage, witnesses or DNA evidence, the officers are simply unable to investigate.
Telegraph’s report was published on the day a video of brazen bike thieves went viral on Twitter. The footage shows masked criminals using an angle grinder to steal several bikes despite onlookers trying to intervene. The thieves even used the angle grinder to threaten the brave members of public.
One of the victims of the latest surge in bike stealing is Cambridge’s A&E doctor Michael Brooks. He told the Telegraph that his last bike was stolen in front of a pharmacy and the culprit left his rusty BMX behind. Dr. Brooks gave the bike to the police, so they could find a DNA match, which they did…
“They had got a DNA match from the BMX but had not been round to interview the suspect.”
Last year, another two bikes were stolen from Dr. Brooks at the Cambridge North railway station. The racks are right under a CCTV. Easy to solve, you think? Well, the police did not investigate.
“Cambridge’s conviction rates are less than one per cent. At that rate, and at £200 per bike, it is a crime that pays well,” Dr. Brooks explains.
A spokesperson from British Transport Police, which disbanded its specialist bike crime unit last year, told the Telegraph: “In order to allow officers to prioritise the most serious crimes, which pose the most risk to the public, they use a screening process when investigating low-level crime such as bike thefts. There has been a national rise in violent crime, and it is right that we prioritise the deployment of our officers based on this to keep people safe.”
Crime gangs are now cashing in on the policy. Bike theft is a less risky alternative to drug dealing. An alternative which pays well.