Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Don't Pick Up Bags in NYC
Via Tom Tomorrow:

The New York Police Department has been going fishing. Not content to nab criminals when they break the law on their own, the department has been planting unattended bags in subway stations to see who might take them, at which point waiting officers pounce.
As NY1 News reported last week, 220 people were arrested last year in the sting, known as Operation Lucky Bag. In dismissing one of these cases, a Brooklyn judge said the police “do not need to manipulate a situation where temptation may overcome even people who would normally never think of committing a crime.” This program bothers us for that and many other reasons and should be discontinued immediately.
Civil libertarians have argued that the program is entrapment. That is a legal distinction for the courts to decide, but it certainly looks like that to a layperson. It is clearly a poor use of resources. People wandering off with lost property ranks far down the list of law enforcement priorities.
Tom goes on to note what a tremendous waste of time this is. I can't agree more. If I see a lone bag, I'm going to stand next to it and warn people. What the hell, I might as well look like I fit in with this crazy place.