Gardai use 'bait bikes' to catch thieves in the city
Gardai are using 'bait bikes' to catch thieves as part of a new anti-crime initiative.
A pilot scheme is being rolled out across hotspots around Dublin city centre where bike robbers are known to operate.
As part of the initiative, officers will be locking bikes to railings which are then surveyed by plain clothes officers who intervene if a thief tries to make off with the bike or another belonging to a citizen.
A GPS system is also in the early stages of a trial which sees a tracker attached to a bait bike allowing gardai to follow it remotely once it has been lifted.
Inspector Liam Geraghty, from Pearse Street Garda Station, said that there have been a number of arrests in the early days of the scheme but that they are not yet in double figures.
Gardai are sourcing the bait bikes from recovered bikes that they have been unable to return to their owners.
Usually the bikes are auctioned off if their owner can't be located.
Meanwhile, 'info bikes' are being used to deter thieves in Bray, Co Wicklow.
The blue-and-yellow painted bikes are left in blackspots to warn criminals that the area is being monitored.
A similar scheme was rolled out in the south-Dublin town of Dun Laoghaire.
Gardai have described bike thefts as "big business" in the city. One-in-three bike thefts are recorded in the Dublin area.
In 2014, 6,750 thefts were recorded nationwide - around €4m worth of bikes were lifted from thieves operating around the country.
It is believed that the incidences of bike thefts are actually much higher due to an under-reporting of thefts.
The latest crackdown comes as part of Bike Week and gardai have a number of pointers for city cyclists.
"Since 2008 bike theft has more than doubled nationally. Certainly since the bike-to-work scheme started in 2009 we've noticed a year-on-year increase," Insp Geraghty (inset left) told the Herald.
"There is a definite link between more bikes and more high-quality bikes being taken."
However, he was reluctant to name hotspots in the city though he said that gardai are aware of them.
As part of National Bike Week gardai are encouraging people to record the serial number of their bike so that it can be tracked if stolen and subsequently recovered.
Cyclists are also advised to splash out on more expensive locks as cheaper ones can be removed in a matter of seconds.
People can check www.garda.ie for their stolen bike.