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Mid-sized towns hit worst by bike crime

The Local · 22 Nov 2011, 08:00

Published: 22 Nov 2011 08:00 GMT+01:00

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But it wasn't Germany's sprawling metropolises that recorded the highest rate of bike theft, but its middle-sized cities, the study for online personal finance forum Geld.de found. Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia had the unhappy position of being in top spot, while Oldenburg, Celle, Frankfurt an der Oder and Dessau-Roßlau followed close behind.

Out of the 127 towns and cities surveyed in Germany, Münster was 257 percent of the national average, with 1,828 bikes stolen per 100,000 inhabitants. This was three times as many thefts as in Berlin.

Geld.de described over 30 percent of German cities as "unsafe" for those wishing to keep hold of their bicycle.

Down the road from Münster, Remscheid was found to be the town with the lowest rate of bike theft, with only 36 thefts per 100,000 inhabitants reported in 2010. Of the bigger cities, Stuttgart was found to be one of the safest, with just 139 per 100,000 reported.

Regarding the prevalence of unsolved bike crime, Düsseldorf police spokesman Andreas Schogalla said, “In such incidents there are rarely any clues to lead us to the culprit. The lock is broken and the bike is simply gone.”

The survey also found that there was no strong correlation between the average income of a town’s inhabitants or geographical location and the rate of bicycle theft. It is, according to Schogalla, more down to "the carelessness of bike owners."

“So many locks are inadequate, and some cyclists even forget to lock up their bike at all,” he said, pointing out that most bike locks can be cracked in seconds by lock cutters, which can be easily concealed by thieves in a backpack or under a jacket.

2010’s results were not all negative, however, as the number of bike thefts nationwide has dropped 11.2 percent since 2009.

Top five towns and cities with the highest theft rate, per 100,000 inhabitants

Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia – 1,828

Oldenburg, Lower Saxony – 1,521

Celle, Lower Saxony – 1,361

Frankfurt Oder, Brandenburg, – 1,341

Dessau-Roßlau, Saxony Anhalt - 1,268

Top five towns with the lowest theft rate, per 100,000 inhabitants

Remsheid, North Rhine-Westphalia - 36

Story continues below…

Neunkirchen, Saarland - 50

Balingen, Baden-Württemberg - 59

Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia, - 59

Suhl, Thuringia - 61

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:38 November 22, 2011 by DoubleDTown
I've never seen so many inadequately locked up bikes not be stolen as I've seen in Germany. In Chicago, Boston, NYC, you'd lose your seat and any wheels that aren't locked -- here people loop one flimsy lock through a quick-release front wheel and still return to find the whole bike there.
09:39 November 22, 2011 by catjones
When you claim that 'more than over 90 percent of bicycle thefts go unsolved.' it would include 99.9%. Basically the police are saying, 'If I don't see a bike being stolen right in front of me, there is nothing we can do'. Sorta like car fires, etc.
17:22 November 22, 2011 by noleti
This statistic is biased, because it is per capita, and not per bike owned. Cities such as Munster have high student population and high rate of bike/capita, Therefore, more bikes get stolen/person. It is easily imagineable that in Munster, where you can get around the city by bike, 3 times more bikes/capita are available to be stolen
15:00 November 24, 2011 by 115spider
munster's probably highest as there are more drunk students to nicking the bikes to get home then in other neighbouring towns
05:26 November 25, 2011 by Herr Ober
How strange, I thought people in a country like Germany would be more into honor and dignity and all that. But stealing bikes? Seems beneath them.
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