Bicycles being stolen every other day in town centre, police warn
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Brazen thieves are stealing bicycles at least every other day in a town centre - depriving victims of their independence and mobility, police have warned.
However Sgt Jon Driver, of the Ipswich Central Safer Neighbourhood Team, said the actual number could be higher, as it is suspected many people do not report incidents.
In the Ipswich town centre area, 13 bikes were reported stolen between December 1 and 21.
Cycle theft is seen by many as a petty crime - but Sgt Driver said it is anything but, as riders rely on their bikes for transport particularly if they do not have a car.
He has now urged victims to take care protecting bikes - particularly those of a high value - and always report incidents of theft, so officers can build up a picture of the problem.
“People are brazen and will carry things that enable them to nick bikes,” he explained.
“We’ve arrested people for going equipped with bolt croppers.
“A lot of people have left a bike propped outside a shop and have had it stolen.
“It impacts on someone’s mobility and independence, and there’s a financial cost.
“We once had a lady who had her bike taken - the bike wasn’t worth a lot of money but it meant a lot to her.
“It’s a serious matter and we do take it very seriously.”
Sgt Driver said cyclists can take precautions to ensure they do not lose their bikes - for example by leaving them in areas with greater footfall, where potential thieves are more likely to be challenged.
He advised people to always lock bikes, even if they are only leaving them outside a shop for a few minutes, and to buy locks that cost at least 10% of the value of the bike.
He also advised people to lock bikes to firm structures and to lock the bicycle to the frame, warning: “The majority of bikes have quick-release wheels which are easy to remove by their nature.”
However he said should the worst happen, it is always worth reporting incidents to the police.
“We always want to know, even if our evidential opportunities are limited,” he said.
“If there’s a pattern, we need to know about it so we can dedicate resource to it.”
He added that people who register their bikes and make notes of any particularly identifying features, such as the serial number or any noticeable marks and scratches, are more likely to have them returned.
He also urged people to take photos of their bike using their mobile phone so that “if the worst happens, it helps to identify it”.