Bike theft is not okay
Bicycle theft has been a thorn in the side of the Dutch for many years. Even the best locks won't always ensure that your bike doesn't get stolen. It happened 765,000 times in 2008. But the number has decreased since the police formed a special Bicycle Theft Prevention Team.
Use two locks and lock your bike to a bike rack or a tree. That's the advice of Mojgan Yavari, national head of the bicycle theft project. But even if you do, it doesn't necessarily mean your bike won't get stolen.
All new bicycles sold in the Netherlands have a registration number engraved in the frame and some even have an embedded microchip, making it easy for police to determine the rightful owner. There are also more manned and unmanned bike shelters. The number of thefts has been reduced by 25 percent, down to just over half a million in 2009.
On the other hand, a lot of people in the Netherlands still ride old bikes and the older the bike, the less likely the owner is to report its theft to the police. "My bike is not registered and I don't have bike insurance. I don't think the police are going to waste their time looking for it" was the reaction of a random passer-by picking up his bike from the multi-level racks outside Amsterdam Central station.
Mojgan Yavari says this is a serious misunderstanding. "Every year we recover loads of bikes that we can't find the owners of. And that's a shame." she says, "We're going to have to improve our efforts to convince citizens that bicycle theft is a matter for the police."