The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office uses “bait cars” to tempt would-be car thieves in Duval County. These cars are equipped with a hidden camera and the police are able to control the ignition and car locks.
In the high-crime areas of Jacksonville, the police leave the car and radio turned on, keys in the ignition, and driver’s door open. They wait until someone gets in the car and drives off. In about 30 seconds, the police disable the car and lock the doors. They pull their guns and arrest the suspects for Grand Theft Auto.
While the suspects are caught “red-handed”, there are some potential issues with using the decoy car. What if the kill switch malfunctions and the suspect drives off in the Jacksonville city-owned car? Authorities in Dallas, Texas stopped its bait car program recently when the engine would not cut off and the suspect killed an 83 year-old driver in another car. The crash would not have occurred if the police had not created the theft in the first place. By using the bait car, the police are catching opportunists, not professional car thieves. This is not preventing cars from being stolen because when using the bait car, it is the bait car itself that is “stolen” over and over again.
If you have any questions about criminal charges, contact our Jacksonville Criminal Attorneys at (904) 634-0900.