Everywhere you go you see those cute little family stick figure appliques on the rear windows of the family car, but now police are alerting citizens to the fact that this can leave a person vulnerable to criminals. It started out with literal stick figures and now that they are getting more and more detailed, people are giving the bad guy a lot to go on. Many families are advertising where their children go to school and what sports they play, they even proudly display if there is only one parent. There are even a few that are putting everyone’s names on these stickers, think how easy that makes it for someone who may want to do harm to a child. Predators can even use this seemingly harmless information to target people for identity theft, or home invasion. Letting potential criminals know what kind of pets you may or may not have, lets them know that your home is available to be robbed.
Police say that even the smallest bit of information can be used in the commission of a crime. These days, most everyone knows that we have to take care with what information we put out on the internet, but displaying all the families information on their vehicle seems harmless. Think again, if you have a picture of all your family members on your car and right below it a sticker for your child’s school, you are letting the bad guy know just where that child will be on any given school day. These stickers have been getting more and more detailed, showing family pets, and what the families hobbies or sports they are into. This can give the criminal the advantage of knowing that you may not be home in the summer months because you enjoy boating or camping. On the same hand you may be into winter sports giving out seemingly innocent details about the families whereabouts during certain months of the year.
Police in Wisconsin are asking you to make careful choices when displaying these stickers on your vehicle, while police in Michigan are saying that you should just not put them out there at all. In Ohio they have gone so far as to put public service announcements (PSA) out to warn the public. (See photo) There is the other side of the coin also, as stranger based kidnapping is pretty rare, and many believe this is just fear mongering on the part of law enforcement. Many did not think that their child could get hurt using the internet and look how wrong that has been. We have cyber bullies, and criminals looking for child porn and pedophiles trying to get children to meet with them, scary stuff. So a sticker may not be the worst thing we can do, however, some of what the police are saying is true. A criminal may not take advantage of you purely because you have a detailed stick figure family on your window, but it does leave you more vulnerable than someone who does not. As far as Police alerts go, this one is worth at least a second thought about what kind of family stick figure you may want to put on your vehicle and to alert you to way criminals think, to help keep you safe and not vulnerable.
By Kristi Cereska