On 4 June, Minister Ter Horst from the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) kicked off a major public campaign against bicycle theft. This campaign is aimed at informing the public about how the government (in partnership with private parties) intends to tackle bicycle theft and emphasising the role of the public in this.
The government’s target is that 100,000 fewer bicycles will be stolen in 2010 compared with 2006, when over 750,000 bicycles were stolen. Of these, over 120,000 were reported to the police.
Hopefully, the campaign will reach all bicycle owners in the Netherlands, particularly the residents of large and medium-sized cities where the problem is greatest. Bicycle owners must be convinced that the government is taking bicycle theft seriously and that reporting theft really does make a difference. Bicycle owners must know that their bicycle has unique features and how to identify these features. And people intending to buy second-hand bicycles should consult the bicycle theft register to ensure that the bicycle of their choice was not originally a stolen bicycle.
The campaign sends out four messages: 1. Lock your bicycle properly. 2. Know your bicycle (frame number and/or bicycle batch number). 3. Report theft. 4. Don’t buy a stolen bicycle.
The national public campaign is also being advertised in the free daily newspapers Metro and De Pers and in local free papers and banners on websites like Marktplaats. An event focusing on combating bicycle theft will be organised in 20 large Dutch cities, during which all bicycles in bicycle parking facilities will be given handlebar hangers on which the unique features of the bicycle can be filled in.