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Not so much plastic policeman as cardboard bobby in Boston, USA - but it does seem to work

Bike thieves. They might be crafty, but, it seems, they’re none too observant.

In Boston, USA, a cardboard cut out of a police officer - dubbed CardboCop - gas been credited with a 67 per cent decrease in bike thefts since he’s been positioned near a hotspot for pinched rides.

Based on the Metro’s Red Line Alewife Station in North Cambridge, CardboCop saw two thirds fewer thefts last summer than in 2012.

The only real thing about CardboCop is his face - the likeness of Transport Officer David Silen.

“I think it’s our inner conscience. Even though they know that it’s not a real cop, there is some psychology at work. People realize it’s a cutout, but there is still a set of eyes in a blue uniform,” Transit Police Deputy Chief Robert Lenehan told the Washington Post.

Now, there are plans to replicated CardboCop at three other locations in the city.

It’s a different approach to that taken by police in Islington, one of London’s crime hotspots, where last year we reported police credited tough policing and education with an eight per cent drop in thefts.

In October last year, Project Cycle Ops was launched, which saw the Met Police, Transport for London, British Transport Police and City of London police working together to discourage bike thieves and educate bike owners on better security.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

8 comments

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 2 years ago
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gb901 [149 posts] 2 years ago
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The police officer that cardbocop is modelled on looks as though he could do with some time spent actually riding a bike and losing some pounds!

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EarsoftheWolf [75 posts] 2 years ago
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I disagree that it's an "inner conscience" stopping people from stealing. People who are out to steal bikes clearly don't listen to their conscience. It seems far more likely to me that a representation of an authority figure is going to force the thief to think about the possibility of being caught and punished (if only briefly), and this would be enough to put some people off.

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giff77 [1251 posts] 2 years ago
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Poundworld and Discount UK use these cut outs. As wolf says they make people think twice about thieving and the possibility of being caught. There was also an experiment some time back that bikes were less likely to be stolen when left near an image of an eye.

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bikebot [1925 posts] 2 years ago
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gb901 wrote:

The police officer that cardbocop is modelled on looks as though he could do with some time spent actually riding a bike and losing some pounds!

You have to recalibrate for him being an American. That's what the ones who DO cycle look like  21

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drfabulous0 [409 posts] 2 years ago
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When I were a lad, you would see actual policemen walking around. Now the best they can do is a cardboard cutout?

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bikebot [1925 posts] 2 years ago
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This is nothing new, we've been doing this for years where I live in south London. We call them PCSOs rather than CardboCop.

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Konstantine [33 posts] 2 years ago
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Surely if B follows A, then A caused it!  7 Get a sticker! Reduce crime!! Save "hard working families' hard earned cash" and reduce need for expensive policing!!! After all, if it works there, it works everywhere.  41 Is it me?  102 "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." - H. L. Mencken