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Bicycle theft

Approximately 6 per cent of households stated that they were exposed to bicycle theft during 2014. In 2014, 70,900 bicycle thefts were reported, which is an increase of 7 per cent as compared with the preceding year. Bicycle theft is one of the most common property offences.

Percentage exposed to bicycle theft

Number of households exposed to bicycle theft, 2006 – 2014. Source: NTU

In the Swedish Crime Survey (Nationella trygghetsundersökningen) (NTU), 6.1 per cent of households stated that they were exposed to bicycle theft, which corresponds to 257,000 households in Sweden. This is a small reduction as compared with 2013, when a 6.2 per cent of households were exposed. Between 2006 and 2011, the number of exposed households remained relatively stable. In 2012, the number declined somewhat and, in the most recent survey, has been stable at a somewhat lower level.

Victimisation of different groups in respect of bicycle theft

Persons who live in multiple dwelling blocks are exposed to bicycle theft to a greater extent (7.5%) as compared with those who live in detached or semi-detached dwellings (4.4%). Households with children are exposed to bicycle theft to a greater extent, particularly households of single parents with children, where 9.2 per cent are stated to have been exposed. This can be compared with the group of couples without children, where the percentage is 4.3 per cent. To a certain extent the result is probably explained by the fact that households with children generally own more bicycles per household, which probably increases the risk of bicycle theft. Exposure to bicycle theft is greatest in the major metropolitan areas (6.3%) and in other large cities (7.2%) and lowest in small towns and rural areas (4.3%).

Circumstances surrounding bicycle theft

Households which were exposed to bicycle theft are asked to answer a question regarding the type of place from which the bicycle was stolen. In most cases (64%), the bicycle was stolen from a public place. In other cases, the bicycle was stolen from a basement or a storage structure (12%) or from some other private place (25%).

Reported bicycle thefts

Number of reported stolen bicycles 2005–2014. Source: Reported offences

Reported offences

In 2014, 70,900 bicycle thefts were reported, which is a 7 per cent increase as compared with the preceding year. The number of reported bicycle thefts is now at a higher level than in 2005, when 70,400 bicycle thefts were reported.

Cleared bicycle thefts

Person-based clearance rate² for bicycle theft, 2005 – 2014. Source: Processed offences

Processed offences

Most bicycle thefts remain uncleared, since there is seldom an identified suspected person. In 2013, 715 bicycle thefts had person-based clearances. The person-based clearance rate² was 1 per cent.

In 2014, 71,000 bicycle thefts were processed¹. Investigation was commenced for 5 per cent (3,900) of the processed theft and taking and driving away offences, while the majority, 71 per cent (384,000), were dismissed with no investigation. Investigations were limited in only 1 per cent (7,790) of the processed theft and taking and driving away offences, most of which (7,300) were after an investigation was commenced.

Persons suspected of bicycle theft

Number of persons suspected of bicycle theft, 2005 – 2014. Source: Persons suspected of offences

Persons suspected of offences

In 2014, there were 550 persons suspected of bicycle theft, which is a 13 per cent increase as compared with the preceding year. The number of persons suspected of the offence has increased by 16 per cent since 2005.

Convictions

Since bicycle theft is not a specific legal category, it is not possible to isolate the number of persons who were found guilty of bicycle theft from the statistic.

Bicycle theft among young people

According to Brå's school survey, the number of ninth year pupils who stated that they have stolen a bicycle has declined by almost half, from 14 per cent to 8 per cent between 1995 and 2011. However, most of this reduction took place during the two most recent measurements, i.e. between 2008 and 2011. Exposure to bicycle theft among ninth year pupils also decreased, from 18 per cent to 14 per cent, during the period 1995 – 2011.

¹) The statistic for processed offences reports the number of reported offences where the police, public prosecutor, or other investigatory authority has taken a decision regarding the offence.

²) Person-based clearance means that a person suspected of the offence has been tied to the offence through an indictment, the issuance of a summary sanction order, or the issuance of a waiver of prosecution.

  • The person-based clearance rate reports the number of offences with person-based clearances during one year as a percentage of the number of processed offences during the same year. As from 2014, an adjusted person-based clearance rate is reported. The metric is essentially structured in the same way as previously, however, it is calculated based on all processed offences instead of all reported offences.

  • The conviction rate reports the number of person-based clearances during one year as a per cent of all investigated offences, excluding offences with limitations of investigation during the same period.

Facts

  • 70,900 bicycle thefts were reported to the police (2014)
  • 550 suspected persons (2014)
  • 1 per cent = person-based clearance rate (2014)
  • 6.1 per cent of households stated that they were exposed to bicycle theft during the year  (NTU 2015)
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