Officer David Silen prevents theft
with his ever-watchful presence.
Officer Silen is also immune to any slurs directed his way. That's because he's a life-sized cardboard cutout assigned to watch over bicycles. The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority says that bike thefts at one station have gone down 67%.
But isn't it, you know, obvious that Officer Silen is fake?
It's not that criminals are fooled into believing he's real. It may be that his image is reminding potential thieves that there are police - or police cameras - watching them, so they think twice before they steal.
The eyes of authority
The Boston police's experiment supports research that was done at Newcastle University, which found that a poster of eyes with an anti-theft message was also effective at reducing bicycle theft.
Researchers also discovered that, in certain situations, just the image of eyes was enough to make people more honest.
So, does this image work?
-Fake Transit Cop Spooks Bike Thieves, Time Magazine>>
-Watching eyes reduce bike theft, Newcastle University>>