The use of bait bikes with GPS fitted results in a large reduction in bike theft, a study in the Netherlands has shown.

In places where this preventative measure was used, the number of thefts dropped by almost half within a few months. The research was conducted by Ben Vollaard of Tilburg University.

“A total of fourteen municipalities – including Dordrecht, Gorinchem, Maassluis and Barendrecht – have been using bait bikes for the first time,” Vollaard told De Telegraaf, “and that appears to work, because the professional criminal has quickly disappeared from these locations.”

“Many cities and villages therefore take the initiative to tackle the problem with the use of bait bikes. And with the results that are being found, I think that will soon become more” says Vollaard.

Mojgan Yavari of Center Fietsendief who helped coordinate the project is satisfied with the results.

“It is wonderful that this works,” said Yavari “and in combination with other preventive measures, such as a second lock and securing it to a fixed object, you see the thefts also drop further this year.”

Up to 1 October of this year, the police reported 61,063 instances of bicycle theft, which was considerably less than the same period in 2016 when there were still 73,287.

Over the past year, the decoy bikes have been used 1,612 times and this led to 1,220 arrests.

“Usually arrests are made just after the theft, but occasionally the police suddenly see a bicycle going at 120 km/h on the highway. This means that a bicycle is in a van or trailer with many other stolen bicycles. Then in one go, many crimes are solved,” Yavari explained.

The penalties that bicycle thieves can expect are often a fine of around €300, with the maximum sentence of four years in prison.


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