According to a new report, over 2 million bikes are stolen in North America each year.
The cycling advocacy program, 529 Garage, works with more than 1,400 law enforcement, city, university and bike shop partners to create a database from which they have drawn these statistics, which currently includes more than one million searchable bicycles worldwide, and describes itself as the world’s largest bike registration program.
J Allard, a former Microsoft executive, founded 529 Garage five years ago in Portland, Oregon, with the goal of cutting North America’s $500-million bike theft epidemic in half by 2025, while company aims to hit five million bikes by 2022.
Additional statistics provided by 529 Garage, reveal that four bikes are stolen in North America every two minutes, or the equivalent of one every 30 seconds. They also claim this figure has doubled since the turn of the millennium.
Bike theft appears to be a lucrative business with limited risk for thieves, which have resulted in huge financial losses for American communities.
However, the cost goes well beyond just the value of the bike, as a quarter of the stolen bikes are used to commit a secondary crime.
In all, it adds up to a reported $1 billion per year cost for American communities each year.
Additionally, 529 Garage’s figures indicate that a quarter of all victims of bike theft are less likely to return to cycling after the crime, with 7% of cyclists stopping altogether. Moreover, of those cyclists that do continue cycling, 20% buy a cheaper (or stolen) replacement.
The research also claims that only 20% of stolen bikes are reported, mostly because the public feels bike theft isn’t given priority by the police.
Interestingly though, the police actually recover hundreds of thousands of bikes a year, but only 5% are ever returned to owners as the thefts aren’t reported and less than 20% of owners know their bike’s serial number.
You can learn more about the report by visiting 529 Garage’s website here.
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