Despite the progress made in terms of prevention, bicycle theft is on the rise in Brussels and the fight against these crimes remains “very insufficient”, the cyclists’ associations Gracq and Fietsersbond said on Thursday.
In recent years, bicycle theft has increased steadily. According to the latest federal police crime statistics report, 3,719 complaints were lodged in the Brussels Region in 2018, compared to 3,547 the previous year. Ten years ago, there were only 1,500 complaints. These figures “only concern declared thefts: the phenomenon is in fact much more serious” according to the cycling associations, which also denounced the “feeling of impunity” enjoyed by those responsible for thefts.
For Gracq and Fietsersbond, progress has been made in recent years in terms of prevention, such as the secure parking that is beginning to develop, the launch of the mybike.brussels platform which allows you to register your bike online, and regular awareness raising. But the fight against bicycle theft “remains very insufficient” in the eyes of the associations and requires “joint action by the police and the prosecutor’s office to apprehend the perpetrators of theft, and prosecute and/or fine them.”
At present, “less than 5% of stolen bicycles are returned to their owners”, according to Gracq and Fietsersbond, which also urged the Brussels authorities to “finally take bicycle theft seriously”. To attract the attention of the latter, the two associations are encouraging the victims of bike theft to ‘hijack’ the hashtag of the promotional campaign #tourensemble of Bruxelles Mobilité by using the hashtag #protectourbikes on social networks.