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Are ‘Bait Bikes’ the Answer to Reducing Bike Theft?

Getting your bike stolen is absolutely soul destroying. Even if your bike was insured it doesn’t come close to covering the hassle of getting a new one, not to mention your emotional connection to the bike.

Cold hard stats are hard to find on the actual number of bikes stolen in the UK every year as not all thefts are reported but the figure is thought to exceed 500,000. It is huge business.

It doesn’t matter how good your lock is or how sturdy the place to which you have secured your bike to – there is no obstacle too big for the thieves. In recent times we have seen CCTV footage of thieves slicing through fences, dismantling road signs and even carving through trees.

So what can be done to stop this multimillion pound business? Websites such a Stolen Bikes and Check that Bike do recover a couple of thousand bikes a year, while GPS trackers have also achieved a certain amount of success.

Bike Bait is another initiative that has been rolled out in the US and the UK. A pilot scheme was launched in the UK to see if Bait Bike would work. Despite success over a period of a year, there is little indication that it was actually implemented across the country.

A bait bike is a relatively valuable bicycle, left either unlocked or poorly locked in an area where bike theft is rife. The bike is then equipped with a GPS device that police then use to direct them to bike thieves.

When the scheme was introduced in certain colleges in the US, bike thefts reduced by up to 40%. There was a 45% drop in bikes being stolen at Cambridge rail station when a pilot programme was trialled there.

Ireland is the latest place considering the initiative. We can definitely see the pros of a system like this but unfortunately bike thieves are becoming more and more savvy when it comes to GPS systems, disabling them when they do steal a bike.

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