This is the bicycle theft capital of Germany! Over 40 are stolen daily!


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Around 40 bicycles are stolen every day in Hamburg, last year there were 14 577. Bicycle theft more and more lucrative: where thieves strike in Hamburg

Bicycle Theft in Hamburg: The bicycle market is booming. The demand is enormous. Cargo bikes, gravel bikes or certain brands such as “Woom” children’s bikes are in great demand. Customers often have to wait weeks and months for their new bike.

Bicycle Theft

City residents are seeing red!

At the same time, the business for stolen bikes has become even more lucrative. A stolen bike in Hamburg is worth an average of 600 euros. Easy money for criminals who strike as individual perpetrators or in organized groups. The number of thefts in the city increased significantly during Corona. Some parts of the city are particularly affected.

14,577 stolen bicycles were reported to the Hamburg police last year – an increase of more than 20 percent compared to 2019. The number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher because many of them do not even have this because of the mostly unpromising prospect of returning their own bike Show thefts.

Hamburg: The bikes are becoming more expensive, the thefts more lucrative

The police explain the increase on the one hand with the corona pandemic, since in 2020 “bicycles were increasingly used as sports equipment and as an alternative to local public transport,” said a spokeswoman. Bicycle traffic would have increased by 33 percent. And the bikes were also in great demand due to a “supply shortage” caused by the delivery and production bottlenecks. 

“The police continue to take preventive action with educational work and keep the pressure of persecution high with targeted operational measures.” This means that the police also patrols civil investigators at particularly affected areas, who are specifically supposed to look out for perpetrators. If they find out about theft, there is an immediate response and the perpetrator is arrested.

▶ The bicycle thefts that have become known resulted in damage totaling more than eight million euros in 2020, according to the police. In the previous year it was 6,495,371 euros. No figures are yet available for 2021, but a significant decline in the numbers is not expected, according to police circles.

Particularly popular with criminals: the area in the north-west of Hamburg. In the Mitte area, primarily inner city, St. Georg, Altona and also in HafenCity, thieves strike most often, but the perpetrators also strike in more densely populated residential areas such as Eimsbüttel, Billstedt and south of the Elbe. The police spokeswoman: “Wherever there is a corresponding crime scene structure, there is also bicycle theft, especially in densely populated districts with a lot of bicycle traffic, but also at train stations and their immediate surroundings.”

Bicycle Theft

Bicycle theft in Hamburg: These are the perpetrators

Who are the perpetrators? And how do you go about it? In security circles, a distinction is often made in three categories: “Small” crooks, often drug addicts, who become criminals just to get a quick buck. Lone perpetrators who act professionally, but occasionally, and who sell individual parts lucratively on the Internet. As well as organized gangs who steal lots of bicycles across Europe, take them across borders and sell them at ridiculous prices.

The latter in particular are “extremely well structured,” as a BKA official told the MOPO. “The perpetrators come with a van, break into the ground, help themselves and drive straight away in the direction of Poland or Holland. There are entire warehouses there. 

▶ The pressure to prosecute is not high. ”What he means: Unlike cars, bicycles are not listed in the European search system, so they are not advertised for search. Once the bikes are over their limits, “then they stay away. The traces are lost and often lead to Russia.

A series from Bramfeld is an example of Hamburg: perpetrators there even struck several times in the past year and, according to officials’ suspicions, transported bikes abroad; big damage, big gain.

Bicycle Theft

Why can’t the bicycle thieves not be apprehended?

Often a problem: The perpetrators – whether individual or in groups – can usually no longer be identified, and proceedings are discontinued. And since the insurance companies pay, it is easy for the perpetrators. 

▶ The manageable risk beckons. And even with professional individual perpetrators, the authorities come up against limits: They dismantle the wheels and then only sell parts on the Internet. 

“Unlike the frame, they are not provided with a number or a code,” says Roland Huhn, safety expert at the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC). “The risk of being discovered is lower. The risk of getting caught is also low. On the other hand, there is a great chance of making a quick euro on the internet with the bikes or individual parts that are often upgraded for expensive money.”

What are the police in Hamburg doing about bicycle theft?

In the fight against bicycle theft, the Hamburg police rely on targeted and operative measures – and on prevention: the officers regularly give tips on various occasions and on all channels on how to protect yourself against bicycle theft. Proverb coding and the right parking space, regardless of whether it is racing bikes, cargo bikes, pedelecs or e-bikes. The police spokeswoman: “We always recommend two locks.”

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