The proliferation of bikes has led to a proliferation in bike thefts, Source: Depositphotos

Potsdam employs undercover police to fight bicycle theft

Potsdam employs undercover police to fight bicycle theft

The approach seems to be working as the rates of this crime have dropped

The police in the German city of Potsdam has reported that its clearance rate for bicycle theft crimes has reached 38% in 2022, which means that more than 1 in 3 cases of this crime are solved. This represents a significant improvement considering that only a year before the clearance rate for bike thefts in the Brandenburg capital stood at a mere 5%.

The success has been attributed to the employment of full-time plainclothes officers by the local police force. There is now a permanent team on the streets, which was deemed necessary given the fact that bicycle theft has become its own industry with a “division of labour”, according to a report by Tagesschau.

Constant surveillance is thus necessary in order to be able to better identify perpetrator groups, usual crime scenes and patterns. That also helps implement preventative measures by the police force.

The introduction of undercover police agents has also led to a

Decrease in bicycle thefts overall locally

The number of bicycles stolen in 2022 was 729 lower than in the previous year, so it seems that the fact that when the word spreads out that there are plainclothes walking around criminals are more reluctant to take chances.

Even if a case is considered solved that doesn’t necessarily always mean that the stolen item is recovered to its rightful owner but it’s still a positive thing because it identifies criminal groups dealing with this activity.

Stealing bicycles has become more and more lucrative in recent decades as the popularity of the two-wheelers as a mobility option among Europeans has surged due to a host of factors.

This has also led to an increased variety of bicycle models on the market, some of which reach prices in the range of thousands of euros.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU