Fort Worth Police Used ‘Bait Cars’ to Arrest 1500 People

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Ten years ago, the Fort Worth Police Department began using bait cars. These vehicles are monitored by GPS tracking and cameras and placed in high crime areas in order to catch thieves in the act. Once someone starts driving away with the car, cops are able to slow the vehicle down by remote control. Since the program started, 1500 people have been arrested after taking the bait.

NBC DFW reports that anyone who takes these cars will face hard evidence in court, and there’s no way to completely predict who will steal when faced will the allure of a bait car. Even a 69-year-old grandmother has been arrested.

Fort Worth Police Lt. Chad Mahaffey told the news, “The goal of the bait car unit is to disrupt criminal activity where it’s happening, as it’s happening, with the goal of arresting a prolific offender…Without disclosing too much, we have dozens of pieces of bait, and an entire fleet of bait cars.”

Some have worried about the legality of the situation. Are the cars catching criminals or helping to create them? According to the New York Times, bait cars are not considered entrapment because law enforcement is only providing the opportunity to steal, not explicitly encouraging it.