Here at Litelok, we are passionate about cycling and bike security. Not only are we constantly innovating to create light, flexible, and strong bike locks, we also provide additional help and tips on how to keep your bike safe. With Litelok being based and manufactured in Wales, we took a look at the police data relating to bike crime over the last 3 years to find out where the worst areas for bike theft are in Wales.
All data is taken from data.police.uk and relates to the period between November 2016 and October 2019. It is also worth noting that these figures are reported cases, so the true numbers may be higher.
How many bikes are stolen in Wales?
In the last three years, there have been 9,365 reported cases of bicycle theft in Wales. 2018 saw 3,148 bicycles reported stolen which was a decrease from 2017’s reported figure of 3,269. So far in 2019, there have been 2,505 reported thefts, so based on similar trends from previous years, we can estimate the total figure to be just under 3,000.
It is promising to see the numbers decline over the last few years. This could be down to a number of different factors including more awareness of bike security, or sadly, people not bothering to report their stolen bikes to the police. 80% of the reported thefts ended with the investigation being complete with no suspect identified and only 1% of cases ended with the offender being prosecuted.
When is the most popular time for Bike Theft in Wales?
Below are two graphs looking at the number of reported bicycle thefts in Wales for the years 2017 and 2018.
You can see from both the above graphs that July is the most popular time for bike thefts. 2018 shows high numbers for both September and October compared to 2017, but much lower numbers at the start of the year. These figures tend to be weather dependent as more people cycle when the temperature is warm and dry.
It is also worth bearing in mind that bikes are stolen from peoples homes, sheds and garages. So just because your bike is hibernating for the cold months, it doesn’t mean it isn’t vulnerable from theft. It is important to keep your bike locked up at all times.
Where is the worst place for bike theft in Wales?
It’s no surprise that Cardiff has the highest number of reported bike thefts with almost 50% being accredited to the nation’s capital. That is over 4,500 bikes stolen within the last three years. The next county with the most reported bike thefts is Swansea with just under 8% of bike thefts taking place there, then Newport with 7%. From the above heatmap, we can see that the majority of bike thefts take place in South Wales. The map below breaks that down even further.
Where are the worst places for bike theft in Cardiff?
When a crime is reported, the police will mark the spot in which the crime took place. So, using this data, we can break this down even further and look at where the worst spots in Cardiff are for bike theft.
By far the worst place to lock your bike in Cardiff is Queen Street. This is the capital’s main shopping street with a very large number of people visiting each day. The majority of thefts took place closer to the castle end of the street, where Queen Street feeds into Castle Street. There were 143 reported bicycles stolen from this small area alone within the last three years which is triple the number of bikes stolen from the entire Isle of Anglesey during the same period. 74 bikes were stolen from the opposite end, outside the Capitol shopping centre with an additional 43 stolen in-between.
Another popular area for bike thieves to operate is outside of the Stadium Plaza on Wood street. This is a highly visited entertainment venue with bowling, laser tag, a cinema and a gym. It is also very close to the Principality Stadium which frequently holds international rugby matches and pop concerts. 86 Bicycles were reported stolen from this spot within a three year period.
Other areas which are high in bike theft include The Hayes (89 reported bike thefts), St David’s Car Park (37 reported thefts), and Cardiff Central Railway station (35 reported thefts).
Where are the worst places for bike theft in Swansea?
The worst place in Swansea for Bicycle theft is Swansea University Singleton Campus. A lot of students cycle to lectures and leave their bikes unattended making it easy picking for bike thieves. There have been 27 reported thefts in this one location over the last three years.
The Kingsway is another popular spot for bike theft with 15 bikes being stolen from the top of Princess Way, near the Swansea branch of The Gym. Other areas which are high in bike theft include LC2 Swansea Leisure centre (13 reported bike thefts), Wind Street (9 reported bike thefts), and near Admiral’s office on the Kings Road (8 reported bike thefts).
Where are the worst places for bike theft in Newport?
The worst place for bike thefts in Newport is outside of Newport leisure centre on Kingsway. This is a popular spot in Newport as not only is there a leisure centre, but you also have a University building, a cinema, and a shopping centre. There have been 11 reported bike thefts in this one spot in the last three years. Another place which has had 10 reported cases of bike theft is outside of Pillgwenlly police station on Canal Terrace.
Other bike theft hotspots include Newport Retail Park (8 reported bike thefts), Royal Gwent Hospital (7 reported bike thefts), and near the main shopping street on Stow Hill (6 reported thefts).
Where are the worst places for bike theft in Wrexham?
Even though the vast majority of bike theft has taken place in South Wales, that doesn’t mean The North is crime-free. Wrexham is the county with the most reported bike thefts in North Wales and 4th overall. The worst spot is Fardon Street with 17 reported bike thefts in the last three years. This is near a large car park as it is close to large retail stores, as well as a Tesco Extra. There are probably a lot of people leaving their bike here whilst they shop and returning to find them gone.
Another street which sees a lot of bike crime is Duke Street with 9 reported bike thefts. This is a side street just off Regent Street, a busy area for shoppers which contains many big popular highstreet chains. Other areas which are high in bike theft include North Wales School of Art & Design (7 reported bike thefts), Wrexham General Station (5 reported bike thefts), and outside the Co-op on Prince Charles Road.
How to keep your bike safe from theft?
The best way to keep your bike safe is by locking it with an independently tested bike lock. Sold Secure is the UK premier testing and certification house for security products and are experts when it comes to testing the security of bike locks. They work alongside the police testing locks with realistic methods and common tools before issuing a security rating. Insurance companies will recognise this rating and will often insist on you using a Sold Secure rated lock.
Even though no bike lock is unbreakable, this is the best chance of stopping opportunistic bike thieves. We would also recommend using two locks in high crime areas and purchasing bicycle insurance.
Litelok is based in Swansea and is the only bike lock manufactured in the UK. We have both Sold Secure Gold and Sold Secure Silver rated locks, with the latter being the lightest insurance rated lock on the market. We strive to be innovative, patenting new materials and components to create bike locks that are light, flexible, and strong. For additional peace of mind, we also offer Litelok Theft Protection. This is where we replace your stolen bike if secured with a Litelok (subject to T&Cs). In our opinion, the best way to keep your bike safe in Wales is to invest in a Welsh made bike lock.