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Chicago police under fire after ‘bait truck’ used to lure thieves



  Screengrabs from a video uploaded to YouTube showing residents in front of the police the unmarked truck

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Martin G. Johnson / YouTube

Picture caption

Videos uploaded to social media showed that the residents were confronted with the police on the unmarked truck

Police in the American city of Chicago say they "will watch carefully" to their use of "lure trucks" to capture thieves following activist critiques.

The video posted on social media last week showed residents in front of police officers

Activists say it was full of designer shoes and left partially open to trap youth groups.

But the police say the truck was used to hit thieves who broke into containers

"At the end of the day, just because it's out there and not yours, does not mean you have to take it", Police superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a Thursday press conference.

"But as [the] Chicago Police Department, we'll take a hard look and see if there's anything we can do better."

The truck was used as part of a joint surveillance operation with Norfolk Apparently, the southern railways were nicknamed Operati on Trailer Trap

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A spokesperson for Norfolk Southern said the purpose of the operations was to fight "unacceptable theft" and "

Some arrests were made after the operation, the company said.

But community groups say the truck was parked in low-income areas, mostly black, and risks worsening the relationship between residents and the police.

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Getty Images

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9659005] Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and his department were accused of engaging in acrobatics

"The Chicago police must focus on building trust and better relationships within the communities they serve, not engaging in acrobatics like lure trucks," said Karen Sheley of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU ).

"[The police department] admits he can not solve murders and violent crimes because black communities do not trust the Chicago police, these acrobatics will not help."

Others claimed the truck was a waste of police resources. Roderick Sawyer, who presides over the black caucus of the city council, has slammed the operation as an attempt to "create crime".

"This initiative only serves to undermine already fragile efforts to build trust between the forces of order and the community," he said.

He added: "These tactics are the last thing we should spend men and energy on."

What are the "lorry trucks"?

It is not uncommon for police to use vehicles and packages to attract potential thieves.

The most common example is police "car" cars, which are generally parked in areas where vehicle crime is a problem.

The specially equipped cars are sometimes left with cell phones, satellite navigators, laptops and other valuables on display.

They are usually equipped with GPS tracking devices so that the police can find the stolen goods and arrest the thief.

At the start of this year, the San Francisco police deployed "bait bicycles" following a wave of thieves in the city.

In 2012, police in the UK filled a truck with counterfeit goods and used it as bait for target bands.


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