Bike manufacturers and members of the Met Police Motorcycle Crime Unit were out in force last Thursday advising commuters on the best ways to prevent bike theft.
In a concerted effort across London, representatives were stationed in bike bays giving tips on how best to lock bikes as well as handing out free bike covers, which have been shown to dramatically reduce the likelihood of theft. The covers are a part of the ‘Lock, Chain and Cover’ approach to preventing motorcycle theft, which the Met have been pushing heavily in recent months.
"Police are working hard to keep the public safe and make the streets hostile territory for criminals who steal scooters, mopeds and motorcycles and then use them for other offences," says Detective Superintendent Lee Hill. "I urge all vehicle owners to Lock, Chain and Cover their scooters, mopeds and motorcycles to make them less visible to thieves. By having extra security, it makes it harder for thieves to steal them and use them for committing other crime."
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The representatives were also advising riders about the Motorcycle Industry Association’s (MCIA) new ‘MCIA Secured’ scheme, which rates new bikes from one to five according to the level of security fitted. It's hoped that by highlighting the quality (or lack of) security fitted, manufacturers will be encouraged to boost security on new bikes.
"The MCIA has been working closely with the Met Police, The Mayor’s Office and other
London Authorities, to help tackle motorcycle and scooter theft in the capital," says Tony Campbell, CEO of the MCIA. "In addition to the newly-announced MCIA Secured scheme, we thought it would be a great idea to meet some of London’s regular riders face to face and offer them a free cover while also encouraging all riders to Lock, Chain and Cover, their bikes, so leaving nothing to chance."
Earlier in the year, the Metropolitan Police launched the ‘Be Safe’ campaign aimed at encouraging riders to make their bikes less visible, and therefore less attractive, to thieves.
Under the banner ‘Lock, Chain and Cover’ the Met also released a video highlighting how a few basic security measures – securely locking and covering your bike – can be the difference between it being there when you return and not. And if you live in the capital, the odds are most certainly against you...
Bike crime statistics in London
According to the Met, almost 23,500 crimes were committed in London last year, using over 14,000 stolen scooters, motorcycles and mopeds. Along with offences such as robberies, burglaries and theft-snatches, in some cases these stolen vehicles were also used in violent crimes, and to transport weapons and drugs to be used in further crimes.
While the police are attempting to make a dent in this through new measures such as scrambler bikes, automatic tyre deflation devices and DNA sprays, which have resulted in a reduction of 52% in these crimes since spring/summer 2017 and a 47% reduction in crimes using these vehicles, bike theft in London is still prevalent.
"We have put a huge amount of effort into stemming the rise in moped-enabled crime, and are now seeing reductions, which is great," said Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, Territorial Policing. "However, we are not complacent. All the new tactics and technology we have introduced will be backed up by really proactive policing.
"We will keep arresting offenders and running proactive intelligence led operations to make the streets more hostile for criminals to operate. Also, through focusing our efforts on dismantling markets for stolen goods we will make these crimes less financially beneficial.
"Today, I'd like to ask all scooter or moped users in London to become a part of our effort to make life harder for these criminals. Lock, chain, and cover your bike when you leave it. It is simple, yet effective, and if it makes a thief think twice before stealing your bike then it's worth it."
The Met’s advice is:
- Lock: use a disc lock to help secure the front brake disc, or a grip lock to secure the brake and throttle controls.
- Chain: use a chain lock through the back wheel (the front wheel can be removed). Secure your bike, with the lock taut to an immovable object such as a ground anchor or street furniture.
- Cover the bike as it makes it less attractive and harder for thieves to steal.
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