Bicycle thieves less active this summer in Latvia

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This summer, compared with other years, the number of bicycle thefts has declined, State Police told Latvian Radio August 6.

The number of bicycle thefts is usually higher over the summer. In winter, the police register an average of 55-65 thefts per month, while in summer it is around 200 thefts. Olga Podžuna, the senior inspector of the State Police's Prevention Control Division, said that this summer, bicycle thieves have not been as active as other years.

“A very large rise in bicycle thefts was in 2020, for example, in June there were 370 thefts. But this year, there are just 202 thefts in June. If we compare several years, then this year there is the smallest number of bicycle thefts,” Podžuna said.

She said bicycle owners could have become more cautious and protect their property better. Thieves might also have relocated from physical to cyber theft

Podžuna said: “At present, the State Police have observed a tendency that not only bicycle thefts have decreased, but in general thefts from properties, however fraudsters who operate in the cyber-environment, the Internet, have emerged. Perhaps this is due to the fact that thieves are developing new ways: it is much easier to deceive people on the Internet than to go and look for their unlocked bicycle.”

The inspector acknowledged, that the actual number of thefts could be higher because many of the robbed cyclists do not turn to the police at all.

“If we look at data from which locations [bicycles] are stolen, then most of them are staircases. People might think strangers don't come into the stairs. [..] But an even larger number of thefts are from public spaces outdoors. The bicycle is not in a very safe place, where it is dark, where there are no video cameras,” Podžuna said.

Inspector Podžuna said the law enforcement can return stolen bicycles to their owners, but it depends on the owners themselves.

“Sometimes people turn to the State Police and tell them they have a stolen bicycle, but they can't even describe the model, no pictures, no special features, no frame number. It is true that tthe State Police, in the course of its activities, finds or removes suspicious bicycles from pawnshops, searches for owners, places a picture of a bicycle on the home page, and, if the owner does not respond, unfortunately, four months later the State Police returns the bicycle to the person from whom it was removed. If the bicycle had been registered, the owner could be found immediately,” explained the inspector.

The police recommend that residents whose bicycles are stolen check whether they have appeared on the police's found items registry, and that people make sure to register their bicycle with the Road Traffic Safety Directorate. 

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