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Foreign students' bikes are stolen less often

Foreign students who study in the Netherlands take more precautions against bicycle theft than Dutch students, according to a new survey of Economics students at Tilburg University.

In particular, foreign students are 60 percent more likely to put their bicycle lock around a lamppost or tree. As a result, bicycle theft rates are 15 percent lower among foreign students with a bicycle than among Dutch students with a bicycle.

Foreign students say that they responded to warnings about bicycle theft risk they found on the internet and heard during the introduction week of the university.

On the other hand, Dutch students rely on their personal experience with bicycle theft. Since their most recent experience with bicycle theft can often be from years ago, it does not rank as a major concern for most Dutch students.

It has been shown in experimental studies that people tend to show a strong precautionary response to descriptions of the risk of a crime, but little response when knowledge of the risk is based on personal experience.

The students who are least concerned and most likely to rely on their experience with the crime risk are those who did not move house to start their studies.

The results are based on a survey among 155 students in the Economics Bachelor's program at Tilburg University. Four out of the five respondents were first-year students. Of the students with a bicycle, about one third came from outside the Netherlands.

The survey was conducted by Ben Vollaard, a crime economist at Tilburg University. His results were published in the Dutch economic journal ESB on August 31. To get a copy, contact Vollaard at b.a.vollaard[at]uvt[dor]nl.

Source: Tilburg University News

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