Less than 11% of stolen bikes in Ireland are returned

Crime data from Ireland has shown that under 11% of stolen bikes were returned between 2016 and 2018.

Of those cases where thieves were caught, just 4.9% (272 cases) resulted in court proceedings in 2018 out of a total of 5,470 recorded incidents. 594 bicycles were however retrieved in 2018.

The data came to fruition following a parliamentary question put forwards by the co-leader of the Social Democrats, Róisín Shortall, who used the data to illustrate what she says is a “serious disconnect between what is happening on our streets and how bike theft is being monitored and dealt with”.

The Journal is now reporting that Shortall has called upon the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to redraw a battle plan for taking on bike thieves and recovering stolen bikes.

“A 10% retrieval rate for stolen bicycles is simply not good enough and we need a strategy for clamping down on high levels of bike theft particularly in urban areas. There have been some reports that higher-end stolen bikes are being exported by criminal gangs, and if that is the case then we urgently need a strategy to stop this criminal activity.

“The Minister for Justice and Equality and the Garda Commissioner need to provide answers about how they plan to tackle bike theft, as well as whether they will establish an investigation into the end destination of such a high number of stolen bicycles.”

In Dublin the City Council is to make available ‘Bike Bunkers’ that will serve as on-street infrastructure for overnight storage of cycles. These facilities will be found alongside shared accommodation and apartment buildings where space is at a premium and where personal car ownership is discouraged.

Those with an interest in the consultation on these bunkers can submit thoughts here.

Shortall was conciliatory in noting that cyclists must ensure their bikes are secured effectively. Over the water in England it is transport hubs that are the focus of cycle theft; British Transport Police data showed a 42% increase in theft between 2016 and 2017.

Related: In an advance that could stunt theft attempts, brands like Bosch are building anti-theft tech into electric bike motors.