Police deploy clever tech to crack motorcycle crime
Britain’s leading bike crime expert says that despite a reduction in UK thefts, it’s still a massive problem and has outlined how police are turning to social media and modern tech in a bid to stem the flow of stolen motorcycles.
Dr Ken German, who spent 25 years with the Met’s stolen vehicle squad, told MCN that theft figures for 2019 are expected to hit 24,000 bikes, taking the tally for the last five years to 141,000 machines with a total value of £156m.
He said: "Only 45% of these will be recovered, leaving 63,400 machines still unaccounted for all presumably cloned, exported or more likely stripped into component parts and sold."
Theft figures aren’t available for all EU countries but with France losing machines at an annual rate of 41,198, Italy 39,029, Germany 14,200 and Spain 8000, Dr German says the black market in motorcycle salvage is huge.
Here are Ken German's top tips for deterring thieves…
- Lock - Use a disc lock or a grip lock to secure the brake and throttle controls. You could also use a D-lock on the front wheel to stop it being wheeled away.
- Chain - Use a chain lock through the back wheel. Secure your bike to an immovable object such as a ground anchor or street furniture. Don’t leave any links trailing on the ground.
- Cover - Thieves often ‘shop’ for particular models. Using a cover makes your bike less attractive to them
Dr German said that the police in the UK are deploying CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Reader (ANPR) cameras in the fight against the criminals and recommend tracking devices, which lead to stolen motorbike recovery in 92% of cases where there’s an active signal.
Police are also fans of hidden DNA marks and passive transponders because they positively identify stolen machines and are often overlooked by the thieves.
Social media and rider groups play a part too, Dr German said: "The stolen vehicle social media pages give officers information on who is doing what and where. Without these aids, motorcycle
Taking responsibility for your own security is also key in fighting back against bike crime. He said: "Choosing locks and chains, alarms, immobilisers and covers is still hugely important in trying to prevent your machine being stolen. Basic security dissuades 30% of thieves from stealing a motorcycle so everyone has a part to play in stopping this stealing spree."
Dr German is still astounded that seven out of ten owners still do not lock their machines when parked up. He said: "The fact it’s ‘only’ 24,000 bikes is a bit of a result, when you consider that this number of victims standing side by side would constitute a queue nine times around Brands Hatch; it does make you think."
Author: Ben Clarke