A new campaign, run as part of ‘Operation Venice’ will encourage riders to take greater responsibility for securing their machines and by doing so reducing opportunities for criminals to make use of them in further crimes.
Criminals steal bikes to commit other vehicle theft, robbery and serious youth violence – sometimes gang related. Monthly figures for moped/motorbike associated crimes committed this year record a 62% increase from 241 in January to 392 in June. The snatching of mobile phones by thieves on bikes or mopeds is a particular problem in certain areas.
These crimes tend to be committed on lower powered machines and scooters, which are stolen by conventional hot-wiring. The suspects will often use them for joy-riding or as a getaway vehicle in the crimes listed, before abandoning the bikes.
Larger machines targeted too
Police intelligence suggests that organised crime groups are also targeting older high powered motorbikes, which are not protected by the MASTER Security Scheme – the UK’s official anti-theft marking system, which many major UK manufactures fit to new machines. Non marked bikes can be worth up to £15,000 and can be broken down into parts and re-sold. These are usually stolen by being lifted into the back of vans or sometimes by using another scooter in a method called ‘ped-push’.
For both lower and higher powered machines, police say it is vital that owners take extra care to deter criminals, prevent easy removal and do what they can to help with vehicle identification.
Encouraging people who ride motorcycles, scooters and mopeds in the capital to secure their bikes properly will make it harder for criminals to find a ‘getaway’ vehicle.
Facts about motorcycle theft in London
There were over 9,900 powered two wheelers (PTWs) reported stolen across London in the 12 months from April 2014 to March 2015 – that’s 27 each day.
This is estimated to have cost those who have had their motorcycle, scooter or moped stolen around £26 million during the past financial year, based on an average cost of £3000 per vehicle stolen. But the focus of this campaign is to highlight the additional cost when stolen vehicles are used to commit other crimes.
Building awareness of the additional cost of theft
The MCIA and the MPS are talking to London’s motorcycle dealers to make sure they are aware of the additional consequences of motorcycle theft. In turn, dealers are being urged to advise customers about locks and security.
In the past few months, under Operation Venice, officers have conducted:
• mass checks on parked mopeds,
• raids on individuals suspected of stealing PTW vehicles or using them to commit
• held high visibility patrols in key areas
Officers have also given free locks to owners at motorcycle parking bays.
This week, with support from industry partners Oxford Products and Datatag, officers in the ten most affected boroughs have attached advice on security and information about a free Oxford products disk lock and a discounted Datatag system via a ‘handlebar hanger’.
Advice to riders:
Marking – If not already protected with the industry MASTER scheme, mark your bike parts with the vehicle identification number (VIN) number, your postcode or registration number using an ultraviolet marker pen or a retro-fit security system such as Datatag.
Parking - choose designated parking with a stand and security loop, or if this is not available try areas with lots of people, good lighting and CCTV
Locks - use more than one - focus on disc locks, D locks and chain locks, fitted tight to the bike and through difficult to remove parts. Additionally try to keep the lock off the ground to avoid hammer attack
Time - when leaving your bike for a long period or overnight, lock it to something secure and use a cover. At home consider fitting ground anchors to secure your bike
Tracking - consider fitting a Thatcham Approved Tracking system
Noise - make sure you use audible alarms to draw unwanted attention to the thieves
Back wheel - secure the back wheel of your bike, rather than front as front wheels are generally easier to remove.
Insurance – some companies give discounts if you invest in certain security measures. Ask about these.
What the police and industry say
Detective Superintendent Raffaele D’Orsi, lead for Operation Venice, the Met’s response to PTW and enabled crimes said:
“The Metropolitan Police Service is committed to detecting, disrupting and arresting those involved in moped and motorcycle theft and enabled crime. The police, the motorcycle industry, and riders must do everything possible to prevent the activity of those involved in these offences.
"We are already working with industry to make these vehicles harder to steal, but I urge all riders to also improve the security of their vehicles. By everyone playing their part, we can thwart the thieves who steal these vehicles to perpetrate further crimes.”
Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCIA said:
“The Association is very pleased to be able to support the MPS in tackling scooter enabled crime. By taking simple steps to secure their machines, riders in the capital can do their bit as well as help the wider campaign of raising awareness.”
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The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) is helping the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to crack down on crime committed by those using stolen motorcycles, scooters and mopeds.