ACT News

Bike thefts spike in exception to drop in crime

Bicycle thefts have soared to their highest level in nine years, a rare exception to a widespread decline in crime in the ACT, new data has showed. 

Police have credited the 28 per cent quarterly jump in the thefts to seasonal factors and a campaign to encourage reporting.

Bikes at ACT Policing's Exhibit Management Centre which have been seized or handed in after being found by the public.
Bikes at ACT Policing's Exhibit Management Centre which have been seized or handed in after being found by the public. Photo: ACT Policing

The June quarter figures, part of the Criminal Justice Statistical Profile tabled in the Legislative Assembly last week, showed 173 reported bike thefts, up from 135 in the prior three months and the highest figure since the March quarter in 2005. 

Bike thefts were however down 11 per cent across the financial year, part of a broader fall which saw property offences drop by 7.25 per cent in the June quarter and 14 per cent for the year. 

An ACT Policing spokesman said their figures showed a spike in bikes being reported taken around January/February and April/May in the Canberra Central Business District and Australian National University. 

"This is largely due to the warmer months and more people getting out and about using their bikes," the spokesman said.

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"We are also seeing an increase in secured bikes being stolen during business hours." 

The June quarter had seen a decline in bike thefts in each of the previous three years, which suggested police's targeted bicycle theft reduction campaign launched in February - which encouraged victims to report their losses - was a factor in this year's peak.  

Police advised cyclists to invest in and correctly use a heavy-duty bike lock, and record their bike's serial number.

An ANU spokeswoman said the university's peak in thefts had come in July, with reports of between 15 to 20 bicycles being stolen. Security had increased patrols of halls and residences. 

Pedal Power ACT spokesman John Brookes said the apparent rise of bike thefts was of concern, although needed to be put in context.

"Given the increasing popularity of cycling in the ACT it is perhaps inevitable that thefts will increase as bike ownership increases," Mr Brookes said.

The ACT leads the nation in cycling rates, with annual research from the Australian Bicycle Council released in July showing 34 per cent of surveyed Canberrans had cycled in the past month, and 24 per cent in the past week.