BicycleSource Newsletter

Every year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation releases the United States Uniform Crime Report. The latest year for which numbers are available on bike theft is 1994.

The FBI places bicycle theft in the "Larceny/Theft" category, which is defined as the "unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another. It includes such crimes as shoplifting, pocket-picking, purse-snatching, thefts of motor vehicles and bicycles."

Overall, the nation incidence of larceny/theft is down an average 14%. The FBI reports that:

Larceny/theft makes up 56% of all the crime committed in America, making it the largest crime category. There were nearly 7.9 million offenses reported to the police in 1994. That works out to 21,644 larceny/theft crimes each day. And these are only the reported crimes -- many thefts go unreported to the police. The Uniform Crime report states that "many offenses in the larceny category, particularly if the value of the stolen goods is small, never come to law enforcement attention."

Based on the FBI's conservative estimate of bicycle theft, there were approximately 500,000 bikes stolen in 1994.

The FBI states that the average value of the bikes reported stolen to them was $252, making the total estimated value of all the bikes reported stolen to the police in 1994 about $126 million dollars.

The National Bike Registry has talked with responsible firms in the bicycle security field who have stated that they have commissioned private studies that place the actual number of bikes stolen per year at 1 million!

For information on bicycle theft on campuses, see our article on campus theft!

The number of bike thefts took a sharp jump up from 1990 to 1991, and again from 1993 to 1994. Based on the number of thefts reported to the National Bike registry by its customers, look for an even bigger jump in the bike theft numbers from 1996 to 1997!

Whether the actual number of bikes stolen per year is 500,000 or 1 million, the indisputable facts are that the incidence of bike theft is rising, that bicycle theft is a serious national problem, and that you, the bike owner, must take forceful steps to protect your bike.

What can you do to prevent the loss of your bike? Read the articles in this section, and be sure to always lock your bike when you are not riding it -- even at home! And be sure to place information about your bike into the NBR identification and recovery database so that if your bike is stolen, police can get your bike back to you!

Source: National Bike Registry
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