Police in Cambridge have staged a series of bike thefts on video to demonstrate just how easy it is for a genuine thief to walk off with a bike without being challenged or even reported.
The ‘thefts’ were staged in fairly busy public places in the city, and while the video shows plenty of people close to the ‘thief’ or even watching him, nobody even called 999.
The police have warned cyclists to use good quality locks and to lock their bikes securely to solid objects. And they have appealed to the general public to alert the police of suspicious behaviour.
According to the police, 2,100 bikes per year are stolen in Cambridge. Many are not locked at all, locked with inadequate locks or have a lock round the frame and a wheel but not a solid object. In the video, a ‘thief’ wheels away a bike with a lock around just its rear wheel and in another sequence cuts a lock with a pair of bright orange bolt croppers without being challenged.
Sergeant Andrea Gilbert said: “The CCTV is shocking because the thefts are blatant yet, despite a large number of people witnessing the crime, we didn’t receive a single call.
“Sadly people are too reliant on others to report crime, but we need everyone to play their part.
“If you don’t call police it means those thieves are potentially free to strike again, and next time you could be the victim.
“We are committed to tackling bicycle crime, which is an ongoing issue in the city, but we need the public’s help.”
In this 2011 video from the London Cycling Campaign, Barry Mason (who has sadly passed away) shows us some better locking methods than the ones used in Cambridge:
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.