New Metropolitan Police data has revealed that electric vehicle thefts are on the rise in London, with e-bike and e-scooter thefts hitting a record high of 2,368 in the past year, up 17% since June 2022.
A freedom of information request uncovered that just 1.1% of these cases lead to a formal sanction, including a suspect being charged or receiving a caution. This is the same number as the year before.
Despite 2,368 electric bikes and scooters being stolen from June 2022 to June 2023, only 26 suspects were charged.
Further analysis of the data showed that no electric car thieves in London have been caught in the past three years.
The data – collated by criminal defence solicitors Lawtons – also highlighted which London boroughs have been hit hardest by rising e-vehicle crime.
Tower Hamlets was the worst-hit borough, with 236 reports of e-bike thefts and 137 e-scooter thefts in the past year – the equivalent to 7 thefts every week. This was followed by Southwark, Westminster and Hackney.
It isn’t just electric vehicles that thieves are targeting. According to figures obtained by the Lib Dems*, unsolved bike theft in London is 4% higher than the national average, with MPs stating the offence has effectively been decriminalised in London.
The latest Met Police data revealed that whilst the number of reported bike thefts has fallen by 17% since 2021 (22,511 vs 18,552), only 1.12% of bike thefts resulted in a sanction. This suggests more needs to be done by the police.
The London boroughs worst affected by bike crime include Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Southwark.
- Hackney- 3,459
- Tower Hamlets- 3,300
- Southwark- 3,075
- Westminster- 2,720
- Hammersmith & Fulham- 2,559
- Wandsworth- 2,216
- Lambeth- 2,140
- Islington- 2,105
Tower Hamlets and Southwark were also in the top three boroughs for e-vehicle thefts, showing the severity of vehicle crime in these areas.
Nick Titchener, criminal defence solicitor at London law firm Lawtons Solicitors, said, “There is a widespread issue concerning bike theft in the UK and it’s not hard to imagine that electric bikes and scooters – typically the most expensive options – are heavily targeted by thieves.
“One major contributing factor to increasing theft is that it’s just so easy for criminals to get away with the offence. Unfortunately, suspects aren’t being identified because there’s usually no relationship between themselves and the victim and it’s a relatively low-priority crime for the police to pursue. On top of this, owners often don’t document the ownership of their bikes, making it difficult to prosecute even if the perpetrator is caught.
“It’s essential that you register your bike to help you recover it if it’s stolen. Keep your receipt, make a record of the serial number and register your bike with a bicycle marking and registration scheme. This will help the police to trace your bike back to you if it is stolen and recovered.”