House Trap Used By Police to Catch Burglars

August 6, 2010 in Burglar alarms

Post image for House Trap Used By Police to Catch Burglars

“Lure with bait, strike with chaos.” said the strategist Sun Tzu.  Police are taking this idea to heart and currently employing it as a tactic against burglary.  The ‘house trap’ is one of the latest weapons being used by police against burglary; a simple idea that has proven to be very successful.

A house trap lures an unsuspecting burglar by presenting an easy target.  An open window with a few expensive objects lying within arm’s reach is very tempting for a prowling burglar looking for a score.   Once the bait is taken, hidden cameras record video footage of the event, which is used to identify the culprit.

Oxford police have used this technique to identify and convict burglar Jason Medley, a repeat offender.  When the Oxford campus was hit by a wave of break-ins, Oxford police decided to use a house trap to catch the burglar.  The bait was an open window of an unoccupied dorm room.  Various objects, such as a laptop, were placed within arm’s reach of the open window.  The bait was taken, and the hidden cameras recorded him in action, and provided a clear image of his face.

In the initial phases of the trial, Medley denied any involvement in such a crime.  However, once shown the clear footage of him in action, he had no choice but to admit his guilt.  The footage helped authorities to secure his conviction and a three year sentence.  In the time period that followed, the Oxford campus showed a massive reduction in break-ins.  Furthermore, break-ins dropped 15% in the Oxford area.  It is believed that the threat of house traps has repelled would-be burglars in the area and therefore decreased the rate of occurrence.

Many police forces are now actively using this technique and searching for other innovative ways to reduce the crime rate.  Some say that the house trap concept is philosophically unsound; that the burglar would not have committed the crime if he had not been tempted by police.  It is important to note that the video footage from a house trap is only one piece of evidence in a trial, and is used to assist in the conviction of burglars who are responsible for other actual robberies.  The house trap is a very simple technique.  It is so simple that one might argue against calling it ‘innovative’.  However, be it a scientific discovery, a technological breakthrough, or a clever football strategy, the most innovative ideas always carry an air of simplicity.

Check out a burglar caught red handed in a house trap:

Photo via West Country Camera

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