CAPITAL cyclists warn bicycle theft should be a “higher priority crime” after it was revealed less than five per cent of stolen cycle cases were solved in the city last year.
Police received almost 2,000 reports of bike theft in the period between April 2017 and January this year – the highest number in three years.
However, just 85 of those cases were solved – a crime detection rate of just 4.3 per cent – leaving some calling for tougher action to punish offenders.
Officers fielded 1,958 calls in the year up to January 31 – a rise of more than 400 from 1,522 the previous year, according to new Freedom of Information figures.
Cyclist Andy Wallace, 55, had his £2,000 bike stolen outside a pub in Corstorphine last year. He said he felt a “lack of responsibility” for investigating thefts contributed to the rise in crimes.
He added: “There seems to be a willingness to do more to curb the problem, but the police are so under-resourced. They just don’t have the manpower to cope at the moment, so it isn’t a priority.”
Mr Wallace continued: “I can’t cycle around Edinburgh and park my bike up with the guarantee that it will be there when I come back.”
In October last year, bosses at the David Lloyd health club, also in Corstorphine, issued a warning to members over a spate of thefts in the area.
Ian Maxwell, representative of cycling group Spokes, urged cyclists to take measures to ensure the security of their bikes.
He added: “Bike thefts are an unfortunate by-product of the increased interest in cycling in Edinburgh. They are very stealable objects and with the presence of cycling in this city increasing, people are spending more on their bikes.
“There is action cyclists can take to prevent this from happening such as locking their bikes securely, even when they are at home.”
Only the Greater Glasgow policing area had more than a thousand reports of thefts in the year, with 1,320 calls to officers and 112 of those cases solved.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said cyclists in Edinburgh “deserved better”, adding: “We’re supposed to be encouraging healthy living and getting more people on two wheels is a key way of doing that, but if hundreds of pounds’ worth of equipment is so easily stolen, with little chance of being recovered, it will harm that initiative.”
Chief superintendent Richard Thomas, divisional commander for Edinburgh, said: “We are fully aware of the impact that having your bike stolen can have on members of the public and our search and recovery team utilise a range of opportunities to not only recover stolen goods, but to identify those responsible or involved in these thefts.”
“We also support a range of measures, including bike marking and database registering, which aid us in returning stolen cycles to their rightful owners.”