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About Bike Theft >The Problem >
Response Strategies

8. Setting traps to catch bicycle thieves

Using bikes as bait by fitting them with a covert tracking system and leaving them (insecurely) locked in a prominent location is one way of trying to track thieves. If the bicycle is moved, local police officers are alerted and can track the stolen bicycle with the aim of apprehending the offender.

This type of initiative can also usefully assist in gathering information on the potential locations of stolen goods markets.

Though anecdotal evidence suggests such schemes are effective (see Johnson et al. 2008), implementation does require consultation with government agencies, as officials in Belgium for example were particularly concerned with supporting what they saw as an incitement to theft (van Limbergen et al, 1996).

Finally, from the perspective of convicting a bike thief it may be necessary to capture them on CCTV to show that they actually stole the bicycle rather than simply finding it abandoned, in which case the location of the bicycle has to be in clear view of operational CCTV cameras or reliable witnesses.

©2008 // DESIGN AGAINST CRIME RESEARCH CENTRE // LONDON WC1B 4AP fully funded by the AHRC / EPSRC Designing for the 21st Century Initiative