Not the Greatest Crime Prevention Idea Ever

Sorry that the blog has been suffering from lack of attention, but I left one job this week and am in training for the next one.


I really don't think that this is a good crime prevention idea:

British cops are officially way more awesome than any of their international counterparts today, thanks to a new experiment being conducted in an upscale London neighborhood.

In an effort to teach people not to leave valuable items in their cars, police officers will be wandering the streets looking for stuff to steal. If you don't have your doors locked, the cops will take your stuff. Because they're cops, they'll also be kind enough to leave a note explaining what happened, but the point is to teach people to be more responsible.

"The message to car owners is: 'Help us to help you,'" said Richmond Police Chief Inspector Duncan Slade in a statement.

So far the cops have only committed one robbery, while a couple dozen other potential capers were foiled when the car owners showed up...
What happens when police collect a few items from "Bubba Citizen's" car and he reports that he also is missing $200 from the inside of his vehicle? He is positive that he had the money prior to police entering his vehicle and that it was well hidden.

I am thinking the agency's internal affairs equivalent has enough to do rather than have this new approach generate investigations for them.

The author of this article closes with a similar yet humorous thought:

In theory the idea seems both awesome and hilarious. But if we were wily thieves hearing of this public campaign, we'd just start leaving notes blaming the police when we stole stuff.
Perhaps, having officers just leave a note on the unlocked vehicle be safer.


CK Lunchbox said...

that seems like a monumental waste of time and a lot of extra paperwork. I'd like to see how long this genius program stays in effect.

Erin said...

Seems very parentish as opposed to policeish.

P.S. Best of luck with your new endeavors!

J. J. in Phila said...

The police could videotape the entry, showing that they didn't take the money, at least when they left the note.

It still doesn't sound like a good idea.

A better idea might be to look, run the license plate and send the people a letter.

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

In the U.S. the cops would probably have their be-hinds sued off for something like that.

I agree--just leave a scary note.

angelcel said...

Well I can tell you that it hasn't gone down well. Police on the mainland are apparently so busy that they simply won't come out to some crimes now, basically you're on your own. How come then that they can find time for this? Erin's also got it spot on: it's 'parentish'. Welcome to the nanny society that is modern day Britain. (Oh dear I *do* sound bitter and twisted)!

Raindog said...

What a terrible idea.

Sandra G. said...

I agree - I can see both thieves using this idea and items allegedly going missing.

Not a good idea.

Cindy Beck said...

Oh my gosh, I am rolling on the floor laughing over this. It sounds just like something that would happen in a few places I've lived (small towns, to be exact).

Thanks for the post. And good luck with your new job.

copswife said...

Where was I reading about a campagain where they hired former pickpockets to put money back in people's pockets? London? It was supposed to be a pick me up in this economy.

And, yes, I agree, a note would be better.

Natalie said...

I read this to my hubby, and it reminded him of an instance on the West Coast in which officers were pulling people over for driving really well. He heard this while at POST, and remembers it was some small town in Oregon or Washington.

Anyways, these safe drivers would get "rewards" for their good driving like gift cards to restaurants and movies. A city funded program that seemed to be working well.

Until they pulled over an extremely safe driver who was given kudos for it, and was also operating a mobile meth lab in his trunk/back seat.

The safe driver/meth dealer was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, but when his case was brought to court, it eventually was thrown out due to the fact that he was stopped for doing something positive (driving well) so the stop wasn't an actual law-breaking stop.

That's one clever lawyer, if you ask me. I wonder if the guy still got the free gift card?

P.S. Sorry for the hijack. Hubs was dictating to me and he has the gift of gab for police details.

mappchik said...

Who came up with this idea? Since I'm in the middle of a big battle with the kids over calling each other stupid/dumb/lame/retarded/idiotic this last week or two, I'll just quote Bugs Bunny:

"What a maroon!"

Stephanie Faris said...

I guess whatever works. I once heard a story (could be an urban legend) about a guy who lived in a bad neighborhood where there were a lot of break-ins. He was having trouble getting his trash picked up for some reason, so he just started leaving it on his passenger seat in shopping bags or wrapping it up as a gift. Sure enough, every time he left it (with his window rolled down) it would be stolen. Problem solved.

mrs. fuzz said...

The police at the university I attended did this a couple of semesters. Students were leaving their valuable laptops, and whatever else they had in their backpacks on top of tables and walking off so they started doing this because of all the daily reported thefts. they wouldn't take anything except leave a note on top saying something about it.

It does seem like a waste of time because the best way for people to learn responsibility is if something of theirs actually does get stolen.

It certainly is nice of them though, eh?