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Danish bike thefts drop to record low

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Danish bike thefts drop to record low
Photo: Chris Dustin/Flickr
11:12 CEST+02:00
The first half of 2015 had the lowest number of reported bike thefts in 20 years, according to newly released figures.

The number of bikes being stolen has halved in the last two decades, despite the fact that Danish police only catch a small fraction of the perpetrators.

25,500 bikes across the country were reported as stolen in the first half of 2015 according to Statistics Denmark, and while that may seem like a high figure, it is in fact the lowest in twenty years.

In comparison, 28,500 bikes were stolen during the same period in 2014, and in 1995, the figure was 57,790 – nearly twice as many as this year.

See also: Copenhagen rides to top of bicycling world

Head of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation, Jette Gotsche, welcomed the news, but noted that it was unimportant to those 25,500 people whose bikes had been stolen this year.

“That’s great news, but I still believe there are far too many bikes being stolen,” Gotsche told Ritzau.

“When a bike is stolen, it often has a huge impact on the victim’s day. Suddenly they’re faced with a logistical crisis,” she added.

A common grievance among Danish victims of bike thefts is that it is unlikely that the police will even pursue the case due to their priority on other forms of crime. Only one percent of all bike thefts result in criminal charges, according to Statistics Denmark.

Last year, it was revealed that Copenhagen Police do not investigate thefts in which the value of stolen goods is less than 100,000 kroner, meaning the vast majority of bikes. In 2013, a full 95 percent of all reported thefts were merely noted in a journal with no police follow-up. 

See also: Copenhagen shop held hundreds of stolen bikes

“I can understand why bike theft is not as serious as other forms of crime, but it means a lot to the individual victims,” Gotsche said, arguing that more police on bikes would help act as deterrence.

The cause for the decline is unclear, but may be due to Danes buying better locks for their bikes or simply fewer bike thieves.

Nine out of ten Danes own a bike, and approximately 500,000 are sold annually in Denmark, according to the Danish Crime Prevention Council (Kriminalpræventive Råd).

A 2014 study revealed that 17 percent of Danish residents have at one point stolen someone else's bike, costing insurance companies 200 million kroner each year.

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