Why bike theft is still a concern and how we can combat it



Although stolen bike figures in some parts of the UK have improved, motorcycle theft remains a massive problem. But the police are having significant successes and there are continually improving preventative measures owners can take – not least bike trackers.

Official figures show that, from a peak approaching 40,000 motorcycle thefts annually a few years ago this has now fallen to well under 30,000. This is partly due to police success in specifically targeting motorcycle theft in response to a wave of moped crime, particularly in London, but also due to police initiatives elsewhere plus an improvement in bike security techniques.

In London, the Metropolitan Police’s ‘Operation Venice’ task force has had significant success in targeting moped-related crime. While in the north east, Northumbria Police’s ‘Operation Benelli’ has also had significant success in tackling motorcycle and other vehicle theft.

The latter is a team of experienced and specialized officers who review every incident where a motorcycle has been involved with a crime in a bid to establish patterns of criminal behaviour. This has led to a series of police raids resulting in a number of arrests and the seizure of stolen motorcycles.

Detective Inspector Tam Fowler, who leads Operation Benelli, said: “We have done some fantastic work already in the Operation Benelli team to raise awareness of motorcycle thefts and the work we are doing around the clock to identify and pursue suspected offenders is ongoing. That work will continue over the coming weeks and months and our message to those involved in motorcycle crime is simple: we are looking for you and we will be knocking on your door soon.”

But with latest police figures showing that 24,000 motorcycles are still expected to be stolen in the UK this year and, even more concerning, that 55% of those will never be recovered, it’s as important as ever to not just prevent bike theft but to also have the means and technology to trace a machine quickly should it happen.

Which is where bike trackers come in.

Trackers, such as those by BikeTrac and Datatool, are devices installed onto your bike that use the latest mobile and satellite technology to allow constant location monitoring of the machine concerned. Some manufacturers are now fitting trackers as standard on new bikes while individuals can also have them fitted to their machines.

The BikeTrac system is Thatcham approved and uses a discreet tracker that is professionally and covertly installed which, once registered and activated, allows 24/7 monitoring of your bike’s real-time location as well as battery level, journey history and more. It also uses radio frequency (RF), which enables location as accurate as one metre and accurate enough to gain search warrants whereas GPS-based systems do not.

There’s a one-off purchase price with subscription charged monthly or annually depending on preference with multi-year subscriptions offering significant discounts. Installation costs are subject to local dealer labour rates and are charged separately.  Finance at 0% is also offered to make purchasing easier. From £39 per month it covers the BikeTrac unit, one year’s subs and installation.

MCN has reported a number of cases recently where BikeTrac trackers have had significant success, recovering not just customer machines fitted with trackers but also other stolen bikes in the same lock-up.

In one, the BikeTrac team hunted down a customer’s machine to a lock-up in Basildon where the police then discovered not only the tracked bike but also a range of others – one of which had been reported stolen just one hour earlier.

In another incident that same week, two BMWs and a quad bike were recovered in just four hours.

Unfortunately, however, that’s not always the end of the story. In the first case, as the police were required to gain access to the premises, demands on police time means that’s not always immediately possible, as BikeTrac’s Bill Taylor explains:

“The recovery process for this theft itself was fairly standard,” he told MCN. “The unit notified us of a movement and as per our standard procedure, our team made contact with the bike’s owner to confirm it was missing.

“Sadly, though, once this was confirmed and police were notified it became apparent that the local force were quite stretched at that point. We made contact with a police officer that we already knew, who attended the location that our tracker had pinpointed, gained entry and found the bike along with the other stolen machines.”

Which is one of the reasons why BikeTrac, in a bid to ease the burden on the police and also to improve their already impressive recovery statistics, have also recently announced a new scheme which sees BikeTrac link up with private security specialists Securitas.

Under this new arrangement a ‘Securitas Protective Services Officer’ will instead be sent to the stolen machine’s location to secure it until the police or owner is able to attend.

“We are extremely proud of our recovery rate which is very much down to the great support we have had and still have from police forces across the UK,” continued BikeTrac’s Bill Taylor. “But while the support is still generally very good there are occasions where we cannot get an officer on scene as quickly as we’d like, which is where Securitas step in.

“There are over 450 mobile officers and 200 vehicles from Securitas at our disposal and, while they do not have any additional ability over BikeTrac staff, the concept is to fill the gap when the police are not able to attend. If the bike is parked on private property they will call the police and await their arrival.”

BikeTrac have maintained a 94% recovery rate over the last decade, which amounts to more than 1100, recovered bikes over the same period and the new deal is aimed at bolstering that performance. There is no intention to charge customers any increased fee for the service either.


BikeTrac promotion what is it & how does it work?

Now MCN Compare has teamed up with BikeTrac to offer a discount on its hard security system:

  • When users get an insurance quote with MCN Compare they will receive a £20 voucher to be used against BikeTrac’s hard security range. How does this work? Users will receive a discount code in their initial quote email. To redeem, simply go to https://biketrac.co.uk, add your required hard security items to your basket and copy and paste the discount code in at the checkout.

For full Ts and Cs see here.

This content was written by MCN journalists but was produced in partnership with BikeTrac, and thus is promoted content. MCN Compare tackles the real topics you want to know about and any interviews or partnerships seek to bring you the latest information in these areas.

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