• Sep 5, 2006


Somewhere in a metropolis near you, an unassuming vehicle sits and waits. The vehicle is a bait car, left by the police, in a large-scale effort to halt the rise of would-be criminals in your area. One city instituting such a policy is Minneapolis and by most accounts, it's a success.

The vehicles are left in urban areas that are frequently the scene of vehicle break-ins and thefts. The car itself is a rolling sound stage, filled with both video and audio surveillance. Along with recording all the action inside and outside the vehicle, they've equipped their decoy with a GPS unit, a remote engine-kill switch and a host of other electronics to keep tabs on the location and condition of the their vehicle.

Eventually, someone yields to the temptation and find themselves in the back of a squad car. Not quite the ride they were hoping to score.

The focus on stolen vehicles is at the urging of not only the public, but also the insurance industry. Some figures suggest that the average motorist pays a premium upwards of $200-300 per year, to cover the cost of break-ins to themselves and other drivers. Since approximately one-third of all auto insurance claims are the result of theft, it's a problem that almost all drivers have a stake in and proactive programs like this in Minneapolis may be the beginning of a sea change in certain areas.

[Source: TechNewsWorld]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      If only that were true, Ben.

      When I read the article I thought "It'd be almost pointless for my agency to use that since nobody really gets punished for car prowls and thefts." I've had a couple different law enforcement positions and live in a nearby city with similar problems to Seattle. Bob is certainly onto something.

      But don't believe me, believe the numbers. I looked up the Bureau of Justice Statistics regarding crime rates in Seattle from 1985-2004. Crime rates decreased in Seattle during that period by roughly half. Every category of crime rates decreased dramatically except one--car thefts. And car theft rates almost tripled. Check yourself:
      http://bjsdata.ojp.usdoj.gov/dataonline/Search/Crime/Local/RunCrimeJurisbyJurisLarge.cfm

      Crooks learn what's punished and what's not. Consequently, the relative ratio of car thefts to other crimes in Seattle from 1985-2004 increased by about a factor of 6.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If criminals didn't steal cars the insurance cartel would invent another way to keep premiums high.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've had several different cars broken into in the 18+ years I've lived in Memphis...before that? Never. The car the thieves ACTUALLY tried to take, and almost got? My 7 year old Pontiac J2000. Yes, crooks learn what crimes will earn them time, but some folks just feel they must have your ....whatever. I've replaced 6 or 7 door windows in cars where thieves thought they were entitled to anything they could find inside. The cops response? We are too overwhelmed to even come look at your property...leave your report at the beep.
      If any Police department, ANYWHERE is going to try to put a dent in this problem, I say more power to them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      WHHAAATTTTT ?!?! "You hardly drive your car because of car thieves" .... #4 I live north of Seattle and either you exaggerate, are one paranoid individual or you have found one tough area of Seattle to live in.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Or--- maybe muslims have a better idea, we cut your hand off, next time other hand, next time, public hanging.

      I know where you're trying to get, but I don't think Muslims are responsible for the laws of losing your hand; not positive but I'll research it. I know some Arabic people created the laws of lost limbs, but not all Arabian people are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arabic. There are also facts that Christians, Catholics and Baptists practiced public hangings. I know what you meant (and damn it, I agree with capital punishment), but let's not beat up on the Muslims too much now.

      Just for the record, I'm not Muslim, Arabic or anywhere from the mideast.....damn, I sound like a PC whiner.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Best way to handle this? Just like James Bond. Pull on door handle without disarming alarm, BOOM! Car gone, person stealing gone, insurance company pays, a few hundred of these attempted robberies, problem solved.

      Sort of like the guy walking into your house at night, hears the kerklunk of the shotgun being cocked. Uhhhhhhhhh, dorr is that way and how fast can I get out.

      Or--- maybe muslims have a better idea, we cut your hand off, next time other hand, next time, public hanging.

      Think I'm kidding? Thieves fuck over us all the time, it's time to get tough and get even.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Car theft and prowling is one of the biggest problems us car guys have. I won't drive my #1 car that much because of this. All weapons should be brought to bear on the problem.

      Punishment is a good place to start. Where I live, car theft ranks almost as high as spitting on the sidewalk. In that regard, user:Whydrive brings up a good poing - Politics. I don't know how Republicans deal with this as I live in Seattle where they are non-existant. But here, it's almost as if the "disenfranchised" have a right to your property.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This only serves to pad the insurance companies' bottom line. The likelihood they'll lower premiums as a result is about as good as Dems getting tough on terror.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Good god Whydrive - do you raving repubs ever stop blaming things on the dems? Don't forget who's been running the country since 2001. Now can we talk about cars?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've had one car stolen and one classic broken into and vandalized. I live in a good South Seattle neighboorhood. Lifelong resident. Yes, I have become paranoid and will not drive when I have to leave my car in open public for extended (1-8 hours depending on neighborhood) time. I have a beater Toyota (with good multi-layered alarm) for that.

      Auto crimes are huge here and you know it. There is no downside to comitting them.