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A stolen bicycle is usually used again within 2 hours, according to research

A bicycle stolen in Amsterdam is used again on average within two hours after theft. That is one of the conclusions research which was commissioned by the municipality. This also shows that the bicycle is often sold close to the place of theft.

The municipality commissioned the study after the Amsterdam Court of Audit concluded in 2020 that the number of bicycle thefts in the city had risen since 2012. The researchers used 100 second-hand bicycles that they could track with a GPS tracker. The two-wheelers were placed in 20 places with a high ‘risk of theft’.

No rack

Of the 100 bicycles, 70 were stolen. The bikes that were not attached to a rack were the fastest away.

Most bicycles were then put back into use in the immediate vicinity. The analysis would show that about 30 percent of bicycles are stolen through organized bicycle theft. Seventeen percent of the bicycles were resold at well-known resale locations, such as Leidseplein, Waterlooplein, the Rijksmuseum and at one of the entrances to Vondelpark.

No proof

Alderman Melanie van der Horst (Transport), writes in a brief to the city council that the police cannot act on the basis of the findings of the investigation, because there is not enough evidence: “There is no capacity for a follow-up action,” said the alderman, “because vehicle theft has not been determined as a priority by the triangle .”

In an attempt to catch the thieves red-handed, the police are now using decoy bicycles. “When an owner sees his own stolen bicycle for sale on social media, the police take action to catch the seller in the act, provided that sufficient capacity is available at that time.”


According to Van der Horst, the research shows that more bicycle racks should be placed in the city. “We are working hard on that.” Bicycle owners can also have their bicycle engraved. An engraving team is present throughout the year at various locations in the city. On the website of the municipality shows where the team can be found.

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