Hamptons Police Unveil Plan to Scare Burglars Off from Targeted Homes

Scared burglar and haunted housel
Photo: Pablo Hidalgo, Ysbrand Cosijn/123RF

Recent crime statistics and anecdotal evidence of the crime deterrent effect of “scary stuff” has led Hamptons law enforcement officials to quickly adopt a new approach to fighting property crimes in the area. The Hamptons Police announced the new program on Tuesday in an official news conference.

“We’re calling it ‘Operation Scare-’Em-Off,’” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch says. “Our studies now show that homeowners and business owners can achieve a reduction in theft and burglary by using ghoulish displays to frighten off criminals who break into their houses or shops.”

The police cited a recent attempted burglary at a local non-profit as a case in point. “In that instance, the burglar broke in and was clearly looking for valuables to steal from the premises,” Hirsch says. “However, what he wasn’t counting upon was being scared out of his wits by a cleverly placed Halloween display that sent him high tailing it out of there.”

Evidence suggests that when the burglar came across the display, he or she rapidly made for the nearest exit, upending some displays in a frenzy of terror. The frightening seasonal display, Hirsch notes, was designed to be activated when a person walked past it. “This was something that would give you the willies even under ordinary circumstances. Just imagine being a burglar and all of a sudden you’ve got a skeleton lighting up and moving and talking to you. You might never recover!”

As a part of Operation Scare-’Em-Off, the Hamptons Police are making experts available to help in putting together truly scary displays for homes and businesses and to offer advice regarding placement in interior spaces to maximize the fright factor.

“These are the pros,” Hirsch says. “These aren’t the guys who run the haunted house down at your local firehouse. We’re talking Hollywood talent.”

At the news conference, examples of possible displays designed by the experts included a pile of what appeared to be bloody body parts that moved and oozed in a sickening manner. But even Hirsch seems a little leery of encouraging the use of something quite so repulsive. “That one’s probably overkill,” he says. “We certainly wouldn’t recommend that except in the most extreme cases.”

On the other hand, Hirsch warns against the use of displays that are inadequately frightening. “This isn’t amateur night,” he says. “Don’t just put up a cutout of a black cat or of a couple of bats hanging on strings and expect to keep burglars out. Oh, and don’t put on that sound-effect record of the guy moaning and rattling chains. That was never scary, even when I was two years old!”

Read more tales from the Hamptons Police Blotter

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