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Stop thief

Is this an early April Fools joke?

In an effort to reduce the number of car break-ins in the city, the West Palm Beach Police Department has begun distributing printed signs -- similar to those Do Not Disturb requests that dangle from hotel room doors -- for drivers to hang from their rear-view mirrors, alerting potential thieves that there's nothing in the car worth stealing.

''STOP Thief!'', the hangers warn in bright green and red colors, ``There Are NO Valuables, Money/Change, Computers, Purses, Briefcases in this vehicle!''

You got to be kidding. A sign is going to discourage a thief from breaking in a car? You're counting on the thief's ability to read and then his paying attention to the sign.

Welcome to Florida, where our police departments regularly show a total lack of brains and common sense. The rest of the Miami Herald article is below the fold.

Hat tip- Rick at SFDB who writes- "Maybe the stupidest thing I've heard of recently."

The effectiveness of the ploy may be debatable, but the need isn't.

''Auto thefts and taking auto parts from a car are the number one crime in the city,'' Police Chief Delsa Bush said last week. ``This is basically a crime of youth, and it's a crime of opportunity.''

Last year, for example, the city tallied 2,570 instances of car thefts or robberies from cars. So when Bush read that one of the Carolinas had noted a marked decrease in car break-ins since distributing similar hangers, she put Crime Prevention Officer Kelly Carsillo on the case.

The city has printed 2,000 of the hangers, which Citizens On Patrol volunteers are distributing. The hangers can also be picked up in the lobby of the police station at 600 Banyan Blvd.

Will the signs work?

''We don't see people break into a car and have enough time to dismantle a stereo like they used to,'' Bush said. ``Usually, these crimes happen because the owner has left something in the car that the thief can grab and remove very quickly. If you put that hanger up there and they see it, why bother?''

Cynics might note that all this presumes car thieves can read, but the hangers have two sides, and so does the psychology behind them.

On the back are instructions for the car owner: ``Hang tag on your rearview mirror only after removing ALL valuables.''

So the hangers not only discourage thieves from stealing, they also encourage drivers to remove valuables from the car.


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Comments (10)

Reminds me of the "No Ra... (Below threshold)

Reminds me of the "No Radio" signs and bumper stickers I used to see in Manhattan in the 1980's. I thought that they meant no CB radios. 10-4 that.

Reminds me of a friend who ... (Below threshold)
cryptoref:

Reminds me of a friend who had a BMW in London, they put the sign up that said, no radio. Came back to find the window bashed in and written on the sign, "just checking".

If we talk to the bad guys real nicely, they will just become law abiding and productive members of society. Just because.

I remember those "No Radio"... (Below threshold)

I remember those "No Radio" signs in NYC - it was a very widespread practice at the time. In the early days of CD players, most didn't come with the removable faceplate or other security features, and were easy to install - AND to remove. So it was intended to have the same effect as the hangers in Florida.

Without doubt, many used those signs falsely in the hope of tricking the thieves. Once the theives caught on to that ruse (about two or three days, probably), the deterrent value of the signs was weakened.

But not completely - there is still SOME deterrent effect from having an "ADT" sign (even without the actual alarm system) - or a "Speed checked by radar" sign.

I remember those stories in... (Below threshold)
MagicalPat:

I remember those stories in New York of people putting a sign on their window that said, "No stereo" only to find their window broken with a note that said, "Get one!"

But perhaps my favorite story is about the thieves in New York that would steal anything, so during the garbage strike, people would wrap their trash in a box and leave it on the front seat with the doors unlocked.

Problem solved.

Bill,West Palm Beach... (Below threshold)

Bill,
West Palm Beach had "Crime Free Zone" and "Gang Free Zone" metal street signs put up, why does this tag surprise you?

(If I can find a link from the Palm Beach Post I will get it, but it was from last year)

Little good those dumb sign... (Below threshold)
Spurwing PLover:

Little good those dumb signs will do their not detered by signs warning of a alarm system and if we could apply fronteer justice we should resort to hanging car theives like they did horse theives in the old west

I think I have this one bea... (Below threshold)
Denise:

I think I have this one beat. In 1967 we were living in Beirut, Lebanon when the 6 day war broke out. The U.S. Embassy was evacuating all the American citizens and issued us a packet of paperwork.
Enclosed was a 8x10 inch paper American flag with a sign: "This is the home of an American citizen temporarily out of the country due to violence. Please do not disturb their property"

We were supposed to hang them on our front door!!

They always have car parts,... (Below threshold)
civildisobedience Author Profile Page:

They always have car parts, like batteries.

I like the garbage idea - b... (Below threshold)
Candy:

I like the garbage idea - but how about dog poop? Wrapped up BEAUTIFULLY, of course... Any way to make it explode when it opens? I'm thinking maybe a spring beneath the poop, kind of like the old snake-in-a-can trick. That would be precious.

At last. A worthy successor... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

At last. A worthy successor to "BABY ON BOARD!".




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