Worthing Police say bike theft is given priority.
A total of 36 bike thefts were reported in June – up from three reports in June 2021 – with the neighborhood police team conducting special patrols in “hotspot” areas.
The actual number of stolen bikes could be higher as some victims do not report the incident to the police.
The local Sussex Crimewatch Facebook page saw more than 50 social media appeals in June for stolen bikes.
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One member who helps lead the group said: “[Sussex Police] have addressed the issue with safety advice and actively offered a bike tagging service when they can, but unfortunately it does little to stop the thefts [and] the criminal use of cutting devices.
“Should we really need online crime sites dedicated only to bike theft? Perhaps their necessary existence says it all.”
The Local Democracy Reporting Service joined PCSO Ann-Marie Rushworth and Sgt. Isobel Wimbleton on Monday (Aug. 22) on a patrol of bike theft hotspots.
Sgt. Wimbleton said victims of bicycle theft should always report incidents to the police.
She acknowledged that reporting “takes time,” but says it’s valuable for police to build cases against criminals and identify hotspots.
“We may not be able to do anything about it because there may not be CCTV or investigative lines,” Sgt. Wimbleton said. “But for us, it’s another reference number to add to the list to highlight hotspots.
“It’s pretty rare that we get the bike back, but the more evidence we have the more we know who all these people are so we can identify and prosecute them.”
Sgt. Wimbleton’s top advice for preventing bike theft was to get a tracker.
She also advised cyclists to write down their frame number – a unique reference number that allows bikes to be identified and reassigned to the owner in the event of loss or theft.
Secure locking is also important and both Sgt Wimbleton and PCSO Rushworth said they saw children leaving bikes unlocked and unattended.
Sgt Wimbleton said police “can’t always be everywhere” but additional officers would confront known offenders if seen with new bikes.
PCSO Rushworth said CCTV would not always detect bike thefts, so owners should lock themselves in secure indoor areas whenever possible and always use strong locks.
“The experts have hoods or hats on, so it’s extremely difficult to identify them if we don’t recognize them because we know them,” she said.
Cyclists are better off taking protective measures, according to PCSO Rushworth, as it has not always been possible to return bikes to their owners.
“We will do everything in our power to reunite the bike with its owner,” she said. “If they’re good bikes we try to compare them, but if we can’t we sell them and the money goes to a charity fund.”
Read more about how to protect your bike from theft here:
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20756894.map-worthing-bike-thefts–issue-a-priority-say-police/?ref=rss Worthing bike theft map – ‘priority issue’, police say