Is it a cop? Is it a box? Actually, it's both. CardboCop credited with lowering bike thefts

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

by Sarah Barth   May 24, 2014  

Bicycle thief Image by Flickr user by Munzerr

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.

8 user comments

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Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8902 posts]
24th May 2014 - 18:04


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!

gb901's picture

posted by gb901 [154 posts]
24th May 2014 - 18:37


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.

Claud Butler Regent 2013/Trek Madone 2.1 2015

posted by EarsoftheWolf [24 posts]
24th May 2014 - 18:51


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.

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1058 posts]
24th May 2014 - 19:42


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 Laughing

posted by bikebot [584 posts]
24th May 2014 - 19:57


When I were a lad, you would see actual policemen walking around. Now the best they can do is a cardboard cutout?

posted by drfabulous0 [359 posts]
24th May 2014 - 20:30


This is nothing new, we've been doing this for years where I live in south London. We call them PCSOs rather than CardboCop.

posted by bikebot [584 posts]
24th May 2014 - 20:47


Surely if B follows A, then A caused it! Confused 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. Applause Is it me? At Wits End "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." - H. L. Mencken

posted by Konstantine [13 posts]
24th May 2014 - 23:51