BIKE crime in Essex dropped dramatically during lockdown, according to the latest data.

Less commuting led to a 17 per cent fall in reported incidents of bike crime in Essex, according to Local Government Association figures.

By contrast, bike crime in five London boroughs jumped up by 20 per cent in the six months to September.

The data, collated by Lawtons Law a criminal defence solicitors in Essex, cover the peak spring to summer cycling season.

But despite a fall in the number of bike theft incidents in Essex, cyclists are being urged to remain cautious.

During the March 2020 to February 2021 period, nearly one in 30 crimes were bike-related theft.

This is more than double the previous year, when it was one in 75 crimes.

This indicates although overall crime rates have fallen, criminals are targeting bikes more often.

According to Essex Police, there were 375 bike thefts in Southend alone from January to April, including some involving knives.

In response to this spate of attacks, teachers have been asking pupils to exercise extra caution and ride their bikes home in groups.

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Bike owners are also being encouraged to invest in security equipment as lockdown restrictions are eased, after the ONS found that over half of all bike thefts in the UK involve bicycles not locked or secured.

Nick Titchener, criminal defence solicitor at Lawtons, said: “Unfortunately, suspects aren’t being identified because there’s usually no relationship between themselves and the victim and it’s a relatively low-priority crime.

"On top of this, owners often don’t document the ownership of their bike, making it difficult to prosecute even if the perpetrator is caught.

“It’s essential that you document your bike to help you recover it in the case of theft.

"Keep your receipt, make a record of the serial number and register your bike with a bicycle marking and registration scheme.

"This will enable the police to trace your bike back to you if it is stolen and recovered.”

Here are some top tips to improve your bike security:

  • Use a heavy-duty D-lock, ideally a Sold Secure-rated one that costs a third of your bike’s value
  • Use two different high-quality security devices, such as a D-lock and a strong chain or cable. Thieves will need various tools to remove them
  • Lock both the frame and wheels to the cycle stand
  • Secure your bike as close to the stand as possible, making it difficult to move, with no leverage points for thieves
  • Take any quick-release parts with you, e.g. quick-release saddles and wheels
  • Remove your lights
  • Register your bike. The sticker will put thieves off and make it easier to find if stolen

You can view the full data here.