I stumbled on this scene today in Westminster:
The police have posted a notice on the lamp-post warning that this is a "Cycle Crime HOTSPOT" and plain-clothes police are operating and leaving tagged bikes.
Which is good and bad. It's nice to know the police are cracking down on cycle theft.
But this notice must be discouraging people from using the stands. But this is about the safest place you could possibly leave a bike. There is a lot of foot traffic and the stands are in plain view. It would be a sad testament if anyone could nick a bike unnoticed. If people are instead locking their bikes to less secure objects in more secluded areas, it's just going to make the problem worse.
Mind you, it amazes me how some cyclists seem to invite theft. I saw a bike in Wimbledon last week, a brand-new bike worth probably £500, and it was locked through the frame only with a cheap cable lock. The two quick-release wheels weren't secured at all. I suppose I should be grateful, because if my bike is older, scruffier and better-locked that the other bikes, hopefully the scumbags will leave it alone.