Dutch decoy bikes snag record number of thieves

Dutch decoy bikes snag record number of thieves

Using bicycles to lure thieves is proving to be a resounding success in the Netherlands. Dutch police are equipping decoy bikes with a GPS tracker in order to follow the perpetrator.

In 2015, 954 people were arrested in this manner, almost three times more than in 2013, the AD reports.

While that may seem to be a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated 300.000 stolen bicycles per year, police very often stumble across a much larger collection of stolen bikes in the homes of the thieves as many turn out to be repeat offenders.

Efficient law enforcement

Dutch police consider the decoy bike to be a very effective way of catching thieves, and through the years have learned which locations have the highest chance of success.

The GPS tracker that’s hidden on the decoy bikes sends a signal to the police as soon as it's moved. In 2013, 290 people were caught and in 2014 that number went up to 490.

The police have equipped 300 bicycles with GPS to be used for this purpose, and in 2015 they were used 1.470 times.

E-bikes in demand

Cycling in the Netherlands is evolving, and it's no surprise that bike-related crime follows the latest trends. E-bikes are growing in popularity and are also increasingly targeted by thieves.

Dutch insurer ENRA estimates that about 25.000 e-bikes were stolen in 2015, most of which were likely sent abroad. The ones that are recovered by police usually no longer have the expensive battery.

To address this trend, Stichting Aanpak Voertuigcriminaliteit (the foundation for fighting vehicle crime) is working on equipping e-bikes with GPS trackers. A few dozen will be made available to Dutch law enforcement later this year.

An increasing number of manufacturers are equipping their bicycles with tracking systems, including the Amsterdam-based bike company VanMoof that recently unveiled their GPS-equipped bike.

Check out these great tips on bicycle theft prevention and what to do if your bike disappears from where you parked it.

Thomas Lundberg


Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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