Police in the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven, Conn., had what they thought was an ingenious plan to get residents to lock their car doors: Take any valuables that were in view inside an unlocked car and leave a note instructing the vehicle owner to pick up their stuff at the police station. The area has seen a rash of car break-ins recently, and apparently just leaving reminders on car windshields wasn't getting people to start locking their cars. However, the "take people's stuff" idea was not so well-received, as you might imagine, and the New Haven Independent reports that it's been put on hold after just one day.
"I respect their initiative," the police chief says. "They were trying to be problem-solvers. They had tried other things before. They had made some arrests; periodically the problem would pop back up." But legal concerns were raised, and thus the kibosh. "On advice from the city’s [corporation counsel], and after unanticipated press coverage served to raise community awareness about the issue, the NHPD safeguarding initiative in the East Rock section of the city has been shelved," says a spokesperson for the mayor. Residents weren't happy either, and a local attorney told WTNH, "In effect what they’re doing is stealing these people’s property."