Editorial comment: How do we tackle moped crime?
PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 March 2018
Moped enabled crime continues to be a huge problem.
This week Dagenham teenager George Fitzgerald is among three starting prison terms for a spate of violent street robberies.
Some of these targeted pedestrians for their valuables but others were aimed at stealing high-powered motorbikes.
And with 14,000 thefts of motobikes in the capital last year - representing a staggering hike of 163 per cent on the previous year - you can see the task ahead is quite daunting.
But what can be done?
It’s not just about turning young people (and yes, there’s no getting away from the fact this often involves young people) away from crime, having more proactive policing and making sentences tougher. Of course that’s important but there’s much more to it and the above alone won’t do enough to bring this statistic down.
Manufacturers must do all they can to make their motorbikes harder to steal. London mayor Sadiq Khan asked them to “design out” motorcycle crime when he spoke about the surge in moped enabled crime at the start of this year. Easier said than done, the industry would say. But even if this was possible it’s nothing that’s going to happen soon and that would be a long-term tactic and something that would only benefit new models. What about the hundreds of thousands of motorbikes already in circulation that would not have this new security function? Whatever that might be.
Motorbike or moped riders should take responsibility in securing them when they are parked at their homes and new developments should consider secure cycle and motorcycle units. But City Hall has the ability to do something as a short-term measure. Secure parking facilities for motorbikes would be a starting point. And if City Hall doesn’t have the money? How about sponsorship from motorbike manufacturers to part fund the schemes.
Cycle theft has been a hugh countrywide problem, particularly around train stations as commuters chain them up and catch the train to work. So now many stations, particularly outside of London, have designated secure parking areas.
The Mayor of London seems intent on driving cars and vans away from the the capital and its boroughs so now is the perfect time to plan for the increasing popularity of motobikes and mopeds before it’s too late.