Police Issue Warning as They Reveal How Thieves Use Bumper Stickers as a Crime Blueprint

Police have issued a warning on Facebook over bumper stickers, detailing how they could make drivers a target for criminals.

Newnan Police Department (NPD), in Georgia, shared the Facebook post on Thursday, which showed what criminals could read into the use of seemingly harmless or fun bumper stickers.

In the post, originally made by the Perry Township Police Department in Ohio, an illustration of a car with numerous bumper stickers can be seen with all of the possible hidden meanings.

There are 229 million licensed drivers in the U.S., according to 2019 information gathered by Statista, giving criminals a huge range of targets.

According to the police department, a “baby on board” bumper sticker signals a parent could be “likely distracted and may be an easy target.”

Meanwhile, an honor roll student sticker might tell a have-a-go criminal that “my kids go here each day,” according to the police warning.

The post read: “We understand that placing stickers on your vehicle is your choice, but you never really know how much information you are giving out to the public.

“You could potentially be telling criminals your schedule, your personal information, or even what you own in your home or vehicle.”

The NPD added: “This post is not to tell you to start scraping off stickers, or to scare you, but to think wisely about what you place on your vehicle.”

Since being uploaded on Thursday, the post has attracted some 2,800 likes and went on to be shared on an estimated 8,500 occasions.

The post generated a conversation in the comment section, with many believing bumper stickers did indeed make drivers a potential target for unwelcome attention.

One commenter wrote: “This wasn’t safe 30 years ago. Had my son, a first-grader, at the mall and a man came up to me and told me how ‘beautiful’ he then proceeded to tell me that he knew where he went to school because of the honor sticker on my car which he had to have seen when I parked.

“Then he told me all ‘anyone’ would have to do is go to the school, wait, follow him home and he’s gone. I went home and took the sticker off my car and kept all future stickers in a scrapbook.”

Signals to Criminals

Another added: “I tell people this all the time. You give away information without even thinking about it. Also, be mindful of what you leave in your car.

“Remove valuables of course, but also think about school/ work parking passes, paperwork on your dashboard or in your passenger seat that you might of forgotten and stuff like that (sic).”

A third Facebook user posted: “My family sticker decals are Star Trek characters, so I guess they can assume we’re Andorian, Isis, Capt. Kirk, Spock and Uhura and that we’re away exploring the final frontiers of space quite often.

“Good info though, too many details on display can be potentially damning.”

Newsweek has contacted the NPD for comment.

According to the FBI, there were an estimated 721,885 thefts of motor vehicles nationwide in 2019.

The FBI stated the “estimated rate of motor vehicle thefts was 219.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.”

Police bumper sticker Facebook post
A “princess on board” sticker and an illustration of a car and bumper stickers. The Facebook post showed what criminals could learn from your bumper stickers.
Getty/ Police handout

Update 02/15/22, 4:09 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include a new picture.

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