We are going to combine applied behavioral science, behavioral economics with technology, Near Field Communication to produce an evidence based approach to tackle theft of bikes and bicycle accessories.
Before coming up with a solution we want to understand the problem, why bikes are stolen, who does it and who buys stolen bikes. So we need to do some research
It's MY Bike
1 - Research
Crime is in decline throughout the western world. Since 1990 crime rates, especially car crime and burglary have fallen precipitously. This has been mainly driven by improvements in security including RFID and the reduction in the potential market for stolen goods.
At the same time thefts of bicycles have gone up. The International Crime Victim Survey has found there to be a strong inversely proportional relationship between the rate of car theft and that of bikes.
Cycling has become increasingly popular, in London for example cycle use increased by 83 percent between 2000 and 2007. The bike market was estimated to be worth £ 705 million in 2012 in the UK by research company Mintel an increase from the 2011 figure of £ 605 million. In the US bike sales increase by 20% between 1992 and 2006 from 15.3 million to 18.2 million per year.
Cycling has many benefits to broader society as well as the individual cyclist. Cyclists are healthier, cause less pollution and reduce congestion in cities. However one of the biggest reasons for people not cycling or stopping doing so is the theft of bikes. There is also a wide perception that police do not 'care' about bike thefts, regarding them as a nuisance.
Bikes are actually often recovered, 48% in the US, but few, only 5% in America, are returned to their owners because there is no way of identifying who owns them. They often end up being auctioned off or being given to charities.