Q. Sometimes the only way to catch the bad guys is to leave bait. The Northeast Police Division has been trying out this unconventional method in spots throughout our neighborhood by using a “baited” truck. How has that worked?
A. Motor vehicle burglaries make up the largest total number of offenses in any category for both the city and the Northeast Division. Many of these are from thieves simply grabbing items out of unlocked cars or from the beds of pickups. (That is why the take, lock and hide principle is so important!) So to catch some of the car burglars, a few of our sergeants and officers set up our own "baited" truck. We used a pickup truck that had yard equipment such as weed eaters and tools (much like all the landscaping business trucks have right now), or we stocked the bed with tires and rims. We knew that every time our truck was burglarized, our crime stats would rise, but we thought the tradeoff of having a couple stats with "us" as the victim outweighed the untold number of stats with citizens as the victims, since we could actually get these guys off the street for a bit of time by putting them in jail. So we put out the baited truck and watched from a fairly close range with some of our guys in plain clothes and plain cars, and then positioned the uniformed officers in marked cars close enough to come in and catch the burglars. So far we have used our baited vehicle five times, resulting in two offenses, three arrests (two with criminal histories), and one detaining of a known offender. We’re going to continue to try different tactics to catch as many criminals as we can. The more we get them off our streets, the safer our neighborhood will be.