From Iceland — More Stolen Cars, Fewer Stolen Bikes

More Stolen Cars, Fewer Stolen Bikes

Published August 9, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Páll Ivan frá Eiðum

As the number of reported bike thefts have declined, the number of reported stolen cars has risen. Stolen cars are seldom, if ever, actually taken out of the country, police say.

Vísir reports that in the first six months of 2012, police received reports of 391 stolen bikes, compared to 227 reports filed in the first six months of this year. By contrast, only 98 cars were reported stolen in the first six months of 2013, while 235 stolen cars were reported this year.

“It’s interesting to see this change, but difficult to provide an explanation for it,” police sociologist Jónas Orri Jónasson told reporters. He added that even when cars are stolen, they are usually recovered within the country. “It’s very seldom that cars disappear completely. It’s more like people borrow cars without permission, and then the car is found somewhere else. Cars are not being stolen and taken out of the country.”

As far as bikes go, matters are a bit more difficult. Jónas says there is a black market for stolen bicycles, where they often end up on buy-and-sell sites such as

“I can’t see that there’s some kind of crime ring at work here,” he said. “But there are some people who think they can profit from stealing a bike and then selling it, so that a civilian is buying stolen goods.”

Many Icelanders use social media in order to recover stolen bikes, which may explain the decline in reported bike thefts. The police themselves regularly auction off bikes that they have recovered and have gone unclaimed.

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