Size of bicycle theft
Data on the number of bicycles stolen annually in the Netherlands, from 1985 to 2000.
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The number of bicycle thefts each year is shockingly high. On that at least all statistics agree. But on everything else the data are conflicting and there is a lack of hard facts. Police reports data are unreliable, as only a small percentage of victims report the theft. In 1998 there were only 144.000 reports of bicycle thefts (CBS). In addition there are estimates of the number of thefts, based on interviews. The estimate on the basis of Politiemonitor is highest. Over 900.000 were stolen in 2000. Politiemonitor shows a positive trend. The number of stolen bicycles is steadily falling. The CBS interviews report lower numbers (730.000 in 2000), but show a negative trend: the number of bicycle thefts is rising.
The high risk of theft does not deter people from buying a new bicycles. At the end of the eighties bicycle sales increased sharply (see graph). Ever since sales have been steady at approx. 1.3 million bicycles per year.