Proactive police operations or entrapment? By Cristina Arra Hamilton

I wanted to share with you all a thread from a discussion in one of my online classes. This is a discussion about proactive police operations. The Professor brought up something so interesting in regards to proactive police operations versus entrapment that I would love to share the responses with you all. I also want to add that all the responses in this thread are from women, who all live in various parts of the country including myself. And as far as I know they do not communicate with one another out side of the online classroom. Here goes!

The Professor wrote:

Law enforcement use decoy vehicles to combat vehicle crime. These vehicles are parked in high vehicle crime areas to be used as “bait.” These vehicles are outfitted with devices that allow officers to track the vehicle, shut the vehicle off and lock the doors to effectively trap the perpetrator inside the vehicle.

Class, do you view the use of decoy vehicles as proactive tactic or entrapment?

Response 1. I think that it is proactive more than entrapment. Once someone makes the choice to enter a vehicle understanding that they want to steal it, they have made that choice. I would rather have the police set up these “bait cars” than steal mine. Honestly, it serves them right.

Response 2. Decoy vehicles are proactive and are an effective means of catching criminals in the act without risking an officers life.  This is not entrapment because no one is forcing these individuals to get into the car and to use the keys that are inside it or hot wire it.  They are knowingly committing a crime and no one has coerced them into doing so and they are doing so of their own free will.  Just because this car happens to be a decoy car and the individual(s) will be caught is serving as a deterrent.  It is showing the community that the police are doing something about the problem as well as showing those who are breaking the law.  If they were not trying to steal a car they would not be in this predicament.

Response 3. This is a proactive method to vehicle thefts. I do not view this as a form of entrapment. If the car does not belong to you, then you should not operate it.

It really is as simple as that,, as stated earlier in my response, I have been involved in bait vehicle stings all across the state of north carolina. Having these bait  vehicles on the street helps to reduce vehicle theft in the high theft areas.

Response 4. I think this is proactive. It all comes down to choice. The car being there has nothing to do with the choice made by the thief to steal it or break into it. Yes it may be temptation, but the vast majority of people have learned to fight this urge and abide by the laws of society.

Response 5. I think the idea of using decoy vehicles is very effective.  I do not see it as entrapment because the odds are that if they are not talking to departments cars they are taking someone else’s.  As long as the vehicle if one that might normally be present and the department is not putting a Bentley in a lot full of Honda’s, that I might look at more as entrapment.

Response 6. I think it is a proactive tactic because no one is inducing a person to do something.  They are merely giving them an opportunity.  It is the same thing as a civilian parking their car on the street, locking it, and taking the keys.  They are not enticing the criminal to steal the car merely parking it.  If they were to leave the doors unlocked, you could not argue entrapment (merely stupidity) so why should they consider it entrapment if a police officer does it?

Arra, Response 7.I would have to view the decoy vehicles as entrapment. Again growing up in Miami, Fl and witnessing people being arrested at traffic lights because the “jump out boys” (undercover narcotics officers) followed them in unmarked cars watched them purchase illegal drugs and followed them as they drove away from the “traphouse” (place where drugs are purchased) then jumped out of their unmarked vehicles pointing guns and yelling “get out of the car!” to the suspects on a busy intersection in the middle of traffic. Is that really necessary or is it giving the police something to do, like cause a scene. Why not go after the “distributors” of the illegal drugs and no I am talking about the teenagers or young adults standing on the corner selling the drug because he has to help his family eat, he’s not qualified to get a job because he couldn’t pass the bias standardize tests while in public school so he was just floating in the school system getting in trouble because no one cared enough to try to “understand” the him as a child, do you see where I am going with this? Why doesn’t law enforcement go after the “Distributor” is it because the system is set up for certain groups of people to continue to be held back?


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