Bicycle Theft in Derby – 2024 analysis

UPDATED March 2024 to include 2018-2023 data.

The police provide data on crime across the country and this information has been analysed to explore Bicycle Theft within Derby City.

The data is reliant on individuals reporting incidents to the police, on the police actually recording the incidents (Manchester police have been criticised for not recording some crime), for the crime type to be assigned correctly, and for the police to locate the crimes accurately on the map. For privacy reasons, the police deliberately move the actual location of the crime slightly and, for visibility reasons, I’ve also slightly randomly moved some of the crime locations so that those occurring at the same place are visible. Crimes classified as “Bicycle theft” include stealing unattended bikes from the street and stealing bikes from sheds or outhouses. However, the figures probably don’t include theft of a bicycle from inside a house (burglary) or theft as part of a mugging (robbery).

Given these caveats, the data is useful to see where particular types of crime occur in the Derby area. The map below shows the geographic distribution of “bicycle theft” in the wider Derby City Council area.

Each blue point represents the location of a single reported crime of bicycle theft.

The 2023 thefts across Derby show the problem at the Royal Hospital seems greatly improved but that numbers appear to be increasing in the Allenton and Alvaston areas. The previous problems around the University are also improved although this may be due to students not bothering to report thefts rather than an actual reduction – certainly reported thefts are much lower.

Focusing on the city centre (defined as a 2km square centred on the Market Place), this shows hotspots for bicycle theft with the most frequent crimes being in the area of The Spot with the site of the old Debenhams, the bus station, near Joseph Wright College, and the area near the Council House also reported in a lot of incidents. There are also some thefts near the railway station – both nearby and from the platform. The wider Derby map shows a cluster near the Derby Royal Hospital.

The above map shows the data for the last 4 years which is summarised for the city centre below.

This chart shows how bicycle theft dropped significantly in the city centre during 2020 (probably relating to the pandemic). There is a general trend upwards for the last 2 years but still not up to the level of the pre-pandemic thefts.

2020
2022
2021
2023

Click on the images above to see larger versions.

The locations for the crimes over the last 4 years in the city centre seem to be consistent with the same hotspots except that the bus station and some of the train station crimes are greatly reduced. The issue in the area of the old Debenhams (Becketwell) seems to no longer be a problem and the previous hotspot of The Spot looks greatly improved. New hotspots of Siddals Road (by the inner ring road) and St Helen’s Street area (by the old BBC building) seem to be developing. The Siddals Road thefts could just be bus station thefts being logged differently by the police?

There were 3230 reported bicycle thefts within the Derby city boundaries over the last 6 years – a rate of over 10 per week. Of these 3230 crimes, a disappointing 2675 (83%) were closed with no suspect identified and investigation complete. There were also a number of crimes (273 – 8%) where the suspect couldn’t be prosecuted (normally due to a lack of evidence). Very, very few crimes resulted in a significant penalty for the offender although some outcome data is not available to the Ministry of Justice and a few cases are still outstanding. This data is summarised below.

Result201820192020202120222023Totals
Awaiting court outcome0003058
Court result unavailable341824214395
Defendant found not guilty1000001
Further investigation is not in the public interest6000017
Investigation complete; no suspect identified5065445483953053772675
Local resolution1613234442
Offender given a caution3001105
Offender given community sentence2000002
Offender given conditional discharge3000003
Offender sent to prison5000005
Status update unavailable3124108340
Unable to prosecute suspect654853433925273
Under investigation00050914
Missing data21131336460
TOTALS6656486444653774313230

Examining the cases where an outcome is known, this shows (for the 6 years of data) that only 15 (less than 1%) resulted in a penalty (caution, prison, etc.), 1 was found not guilty and 42 (less than 2%) were resolved locally (generally by discussion between the offender and the victim).

The map above shows the bicycle thefts across the county (actually across the police region) over 2023. This shows the concentration on Derby with a total of 678 crimes in the county of which 431 (64%) are within Derby City and of which 172 (25% of the county figures, 40% of the Derby figures) are within the city centre.

Note that my analysis of the City Centre has focused on a 2km square centred on the market place and this will not directly match the police geographic divisions so statistics from other sources may not be directly comparable. In addition, the figures above include crimes handled by the British Transport Police (mainly around the train station).

A UK Government discussion of bicycle theft data and trends can be found here.

Maps use OpenStreetMap as a background – © OpenStreetMap contributors

Summary

There seem to be a small number of hotspots for bicycle crime in the city centre and these have remained mostly consistent over the last 6 years although the area of the Train Station has reducing numbers.

The pandemic lockdown reduced the numbers of bicycle thefts in the city centre but less so in the wider City. However, with the end of lockdown, crime numbers reverted back to normal later in 2020.

The majority of bicycle theft across the whole Derbyshire police region is within Derby City and, of that, a significant amount is within the city centre.

The Derby City Centre police team implemented a plan during 2021 to reduce bicycle crime in the city centre and have been successful in reducing the overall reported bicycle crime numbers to about 70% of the average of previous years. The police plan has involved bike marking, education (e.g. the need for effective locks), and the targeting of known offenders. There has been increased usage of CCTV but the problem of non-identification of offenders remains (e.g. face coverings, poor or no CCTV at the crime site).

The police focus on bicycle crime in the City Centre during 2021 is to be welcomed and encouraged to continue. Focusing on, and targeting, repeat offenders is thought to provide significant impact on the bicycle crime figures.

For cycle travel into the City Centre it is important that people are confident that they can securely leave their cycle whilst visiting shops, etc. Secure parking facilities are desperately required for cycling to be accepted as a widely used method of visiting the city.