Bicycle Theft in Derby data analysis

UPDATED April 2022 to include 2021 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 slightly move the actual location of the crime 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.

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 the early months of the pandemic (April, May, June 2020), reverting back to historic levels later in 2020. 2021 shows a reduction in reported bicycle crime throughout the year.


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 probably as a result of the pandemic and lack of demand for public transport but also perhaps due to additional police focus.

There were 2422 reported bicycle thefts within the city boundaries over the last 4 years – a rate of over 10 per week. Of these 2422 crimes, a disappointing 1986 (82%) were closed with no suspect identified and investigation complete. There were also a number of crimes (203 – 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.

Awaiting court outcome00033
Court result unavailable341824278
Defendant found not guilty10001
Further investigation is not in the public interest60006
Investigation complete; no suspect identified5065445483951993
Local resolution16132334
Offender given a caution30014
Offender given community sentence20002
Offender given conditional discharge30003
Offender sent to prison50005
Status update unavailable31241029
Unable to prosecute suspect65485343209
Under investigation00055
Missing data211313350

Examining the cases where an outcome is known, this shows (for the 4 years of data) that only 14 (less than 1%) resulted in a penalty (caution, prison, etc.), 1 was found not guilty and 34 (less than 2%) were resolved locally (generally by discussion between the offender and the victim).

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.


There seem to be a small number of hotspots for bicycle crime in the city centre and these have remained fairly consistent over the last 4 years although the area of Sir Joseph Wright College seems to have increasing numbers while 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. During 2021, reported bicycle crime figures have reduced significantly, both in the City Centre and in the wider Derby Council area.

A small fraction of bicycle crime results in the identification of an offender and an even smaller fraction result in any significant punishment.

The Derby City Centre police team have 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.

Bikeworks on Full Street offer free secure bike parking but only during their opening hours. Bold Street car park also offer Cyclesecure but require a monthly membership fee (£15-£30). Further, preferably free, facilities near the current theft hotspots and addressing occasional, as well as regular, usage are urgently needed.