London’s Metropolitan Police have launched a new public awareness campaign in their fight against the motorbike and scooter theft epidemic currently afflicting the capital.
The ‘Be Safe’ campaign urges riders to lock, chain and cover their bikes in order to make them less visible to thieves, as well as making them more difficult to steal.
Police statistics show that almost 14,000 motorcycles, scooters or mopeds were stolen in the capital last year, with many of those being involved in the near 23,500 crimes committed using powered two wheelers. Stolen vehicles were involved in a whole range of offenses, such as burglaries, robberies and snatches, as well as bike jacking and the transportation of illegal weapons and drugs.
The Met upped its game against the crooks almost six months ago through ‘Operation Venice’, introducing stingers, DNA sprays and pursuit vehicles in October 2017. They say that bike thefts have been reduced by 52% in this period, with a 47% reduction in bike related crimes, but by educating the motorcycle riding public on how best to prevent their bikes being stolen in the first place they believe that they can further reduce these statistics.
The advertising campaign will be seen at petrol stations and on buses, with an emphasis on the boroughs worst affected by the epidemic, namely Brent, Camden, Islington, Ealing, Haringey, Westminster, Wandsworth, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, and Hammersmith and Fulham.
Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, Territorial Policing, said: “We have put a huge amount of effort into stemming the rise in moped-enabled crime, and are now seeing reductions, which is great. However, we are not complacent. All the new tactics and technology we have introduced will be backed up by really proactive policing.
“We will keep arresting offenders and running proactive intelligence led operations to make the streets more hostile for criminals to operate. Also, through focusing our efforts on dismantling markets for stolen goods we will make these crimes less financially beneficial.
“Today, I’d like to ask all scooter or moped users in London to become a part of our effort to make life harder for these criminals. Lock, chain, and cover your bike when you leave it. It is simple, yet effective, and if it makes a thief think twice before stealing your bike then it’s worth it.”
The campaign has the backing of the British motorcycle industry, with Tony Campbell, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association, adding: “The motorcycle industry is working closely with the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office to help tackle scooter theft and associated crimes, and spread the message that locking and covering a motorcycle or scooter will make it a less desirable target to opportunistic thieves. We are therefore calling on all owners of powered two wheelers and everyone working in the industry to get behind a culture of always using physical security.”
The advice being given out through the campaign is to:
– Lock: use a disc lock to help secure the front brake disc, or a grip lock to secure the brake and throttle controls.
– Chain: use a chain lock through the back wheel (the front wheel can be removed). Secure your bike, with the lock taut to an immovable object such as a ground anchor or street furniture.
– Cover the bike as it makes it less attractive and harder for thieves to steal.
With a staggering 2,591 crimes committed in July 2017, the much publicised ‘moped thefts’ peaked last summer. Last month saw this figure drop to 1,237 crimes but, combined with 787 motorcycles stolen, it remains a serious problem not only in London but throughout the United Kingdom.