Let the police do its job, Source: Depositphotos

Belgian police can now freely use decoy bicycles to track thieves

Belgian police can now freely use decoy bicycles to track thieves

The hands of the agents were previously tied by cumbersome bureaucracy when resorting to this method

Last year, some 30,000 bicycles were reported stolen in Belgium, although the actual number of these crime cases was probably even higher. Most of these were also unsolved. From now on, however, the country’s legislators have made it easier for the police to use the so-called bait bikes in order to easily track bike thieves and restore the stolen objects to their rightful owners.

"A stolen bike frustrates victims enormously. It also frustrates the police because it is very difficult to catch bicycle thieves in the act," said Justice Minister Paul Van Tigchelt, quoted by The Brussels Times. "With decoy bikes, we can do something about it."

What are ‘bait bikes’?

Bait bicycles are anonymous bikes, equipped with a GPS tracker, that have been parked somewhere on a street. The concept is pretty simple and self-explanatory as the moment that bike starts moving the GPS tracker alerts the police, who can easily follow where the thief is going with the vehicle.

The method is not new in itself, however, up until now in order to resort to it, the police had to prove that they are undertaking special organized crime operations in order to get authorization from the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Decoy bikes thus fell under the category of special methods of investigation, but now the legislative amendments have eased this burden.

The hope here is two-fold. On the one hand, it is expected to boost the solvability factor for this crime and have perpetrators punished (reportedly they will pay up to 400 euros when caught, although it’s unclear if repeat offenders will suffer more serious punishment).

On the other hand, the aim is to have these bikes also serve as a preventative measure and a dissuading device even to bother doing the crime since the thieves won’t be sure whether a bike is just a decoy or not.



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