The City of Amsterdam is making small-time crooks an offer that even a mafia don would find hard to refuse: free bus tickets home instead of jail time.
There is a catch: "These are one-way tickets," says police spokesman Ebe van der Land.
He says around 50 repeat offenders born elsewhere in Europe have accepted the deal.
The idea combines Dutch pragmatism, consensus-building and penny-pinching. Politicians, police and social services decided to try it after looking at the financial burden "revolving-door criminals" put on the system _ and their victims.
"What does it cost to replace a single wallet?" Van der Land says. "A bus ticket across Europe costs euro58 (US$86)."
He said Friday that criminals see it as a chance to get home and escape a cycle of theft and arrest.