When I lived in the Netherlands, I was told that it’s common to have your bike stolen about once a year. They make jokes like, “your bike lock needs to be more expensive than your bike.” Well, the Dutch police have a new tactic to help address rampant bike theft that might help to address all that — using GPS and bait bikes to catch bike thieves.

Police in Amersfoort, a city in the bicycle-crazy Netherlands plagued with high levels of bicycle theft, said Tuesday they are leaving out two-wheelers secretly equipped with trackers to catch thieves.

“Bicycle theft is a type of criminality that often goes unpunished,” police spokeswoman Cornelie Hogeveen said of the project in the central Dutch city, which had a population of 144,858 and 900 bicycle thefts in 2010 — 10 percent of the city’s total reported crimes.

In a six-month pilot project that started last December, so-called “bait bikes” are being placed in different spots around town, “sometimes locked and sometimes not,” said a police statement.

Read more on Bike Radar: Dutch fight bicycle theft with GPS.

Photo Credit: Zachary Shahan (me)