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Home Affairs Homework – Bike Theft

November 8, 2010

I started my Journalism Specialism last week – Home Affairs – run by Danny Shaw, Home Affairs Correspondent for the BBC.  As part of our first assignment, we were tasked with finding a victim of crime and interviewing them in order to find some sort of news story. I chose to talk to a couple of my fellow students who have recently been victims of bike theft. Each of the incidents occured in the area around City and were quickly reported to the police however in each case, nothing was found.

Although we were only able to write a maximum of 300 words for the article, I believe this issue requires a great deal more attention, particularly with regards to the precautions that are (or are not as the case may be!) taken by both the local police and campus security. Although not a cyclist myself, there are plenty of students at the university who use their bikes every day and yet very few of them are aware of any precautions taken by the university in order to prevent theft. There are, in fact, City University bicycle sheds available for all students however there was never any attempt made on the part of university staff to inform cyclists of these facilities. Indeed it was only after both of the thefts that either of the two victims were made aware that these sheds existed.

Islington Police Fail to Combat Bike Thefts

A victim of bike theft has described the lack of response by the local police as an ‘absolute joke’.

22-year-old City University student, Alex Sharp, had his bicycle stolen from outside of a University building nearly three weeks ago but despite reporting the incident immediately, has had no further information about his case. He said: ‘The lack of contact from the police is really rude. I thought I would at least get some kind of update or email, even if it was to tell me that my case was closed. But I’ve had nothing. It’s an absolute joke.’

Mr. Sharp expressed frustration at the lack of assistance that he received after phoning the police to report the incident. He explained: ‘There are CCTV cameras pointed at the area where my bike was chained up. I spoke to police about them and they said it was nothing to do with them. I asked University Security and they said that the cameras were out of action. Surely it is the job of the police to communicate with campus security about the camera footage?’

While figures released as part of the police’s recorded crimes data last month showed a reduction in the number of bike thefts of 1% in the 12 months from June 2009 to June 2010, Mr. Sharp believes that more initiatives need to be put in place to combat the issue.

‘There were four other snipped bike locks next to mine, indicating that it had been quite a big operation. Stealing four bikes in one go shows organization of some kind. This is the kind of thing that the police need to focus on. Having CCTV cameras there that aren’t even functioning is just ridiculous.’

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