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Dutch Tackle Bike Theft Menace

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UTRECHT, The Netherlands – After a seven year effort, the huge bike theft problem in Holland is finally being tackled in an integrated way. With over 700,000 bikes stolen every year, the problem has grown into

Dutch Tackle Bike Theft Menace

UTRECHT, The Netherlands – After a seven year effort, the huge bike theft problem in Holland is finally being tackled in an integrated way. With over 700,000 bikes stolen every year, the problem has grown into a real menace for the business in this bike-mad country.

Last week a national publicity campaign was kicked off by the Minister for Home Affairs, Guusje Ter Horst (photo) which is focused on the need to report bike theft to the police.

Dealers & consumers

The campaign is only one aspect of the total plan to reduce bike theft. After years of planning and preparation, a ‘National Bike Register’ was set up. The register is now operational and can be consulted through the internet by the specialist bike trade as well as consumers. It allows dealers and consumers to check if the used bikes offered to them are stolen.

The ‘National Bike Register’ contains data on every new bike sold in Holland. When such a bike is reported stolen; it’s marked in the register. As well as new bikes, the Register also has data on stolen bikes reported before January 1, 2007. Another vital condition in the Dutch scheme is that the police keeps the Register up to date with reports from the public about stolen bikes.

For some years now almost every new bike sold in Holland has been equipped with an anti-theft chip. The entire police force is equipped with readers that can access data from these chips. Moreover, Batavus (one of the leading Dutch bike brands) developed a reader that provides a direct connection with the National Bike Register. The reader shows the barcode for the frame number, making it much easier for the police to check bikes. As a result, the Dutch police force is currently concentrating more on bike theft.

The campaign that was launched June 1 is costing one million Euro. Next to billboards and other advertising, it also has road shows touring the country with trucks of recovered bikes which are returned to their rightful owners.

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