Denmark plagued by rising bicycle theft rates

bicycle-littleDanish bicycle owners are facing widespread thievery; particularly in the capital, Copenhagen. In the past year there have been an astonishing 80,000 reports of taken two-wheelers, with just one out of every three hundred recovered by authorities.

Copenhagen Post reports that the 2009 total was an increase of 7,500 on the previous year, around a 10 percent rise according to the Danish Insurance Association.

In Copenhagen, the admission by local police officers previously that they lack sufficient resources to adequately address the problem has been seen by many thieves as an open invitation to compound the matter. The capital hosted nearly half of all national bike thefts; a 14 percent rise in the city from the last survey. Aarhus, the country’s second largest city, recorded a 16 percent increase in stolen bicycles from the previous year.

Last year’s figures, when using calculations based on the average compensation paid out for a stolen bicycle, means that insurers faced a potential bill of some DKK 230 million (USD 45 million) in claims.

Unfortunately, the average bike thief does not fit any consistent police profile, with officials stating that the theft occurrences by people on their way home from a night on the town were just as commonplace as by professional criminals. The association also suggested that false reports of bicycle theft for the purpose of insurance fraud could also be pushing the figures higher, as could cases where people simply forgot where they parked.

However, police have also reasoned that the true number of thefts can never be precisely estimated given that many go unreported due to most members of the public not knowing their bicycle serial number.

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