CENTRAL Oxford is the worst neighbourhood in England and Wales for bicycle theft.

This paper’s analysis of more than three million crime reports across the two nations reveals the heart of the city as having the most bike theft reports.

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Bike theft hotspots have been identified by comparing crime report figures in "LSOA areas" - or neighbourhoods - between March and August 2021.

This analysis puts Oxford Central in the number one spot with 214 reports of bike theft.

The data from Thames Valley Police also reveals Oxford - as an entire area - is the second worst for bike theft in England and Wales, with 930 reports made in the same time period.

Oxford Mail: Central Oxford is worst neighbourhood for bike theft in England and Wales.Central Oxford is worst neighbourhood for bike theft in England and Wales.

Andy Chivers, member of cycling campaign group Cyclox, says more people are returning to using their cars after having their bike stolen.

He said: "Bikes are rarely insured, and we hear over and over again that losing a bike deters people from buying another one, so they go back to using public transport or their car. In themselves the figures only tell us what we already know - there are a lot of bikes in Oxford that are often left in less secure places so plenty of opportunity for theft.

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"We deplore cycle theft and wish it didn't exist. Quite apart from the physical loss which means huge inconvenience, people are fond of their bike and feel an emotional loss as well."

To tackle the problem, the group say there needs to be 'more availability of secure racks', citing the bicycle parking at Oxford railway station a 'disgrace'.

He added: "When the new Westgate Centre was being built, we argued for a large prominent secure cycle storage facility like that in Cambridge. What we got was a small, obscure hub.

"The station bike parking is a disgrace, and though the plans for the new station are an improvement they will probably be inadequate.

"You see cycles parked against walls, fences and lampposts which is a sign that there isn’t enough parking available."

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To keep bicycles secure, Thames Valley Police recommends cyclists use high-quality D locks - ideally two; one locking the wheels to the frame and the other locking the bike to an approved stand.

Oxford Mail: Bikes at Oxford train stationBikes at Oxford train station

The force says stolen bikes are rarely recovered, but officers in the city centre have been 'working hard' to stop bicycle thefts by targeting prolific offenders and engaging with cyclists.

A TVP spokesperson said: "The Oxford Central Neighbourhood Policing Team in particular has given out 78 weeks of prison since June and halved bike crime in the city centre area when compared to last year.

“We also regularly engage with cyclists by checking their security arrangements and informing them where required, as well as making recommendations about upgrading their locks.

“None of the success would be possible without the support of our partner agencies whose CCTV has massively contributed to this success."

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