That Stick-Figure Decal on Your Car Could Be Putting Your Family in Danger
They're all over the place—stick figures of a family stuck on the back window or bumper of a car or truck—but are these innocent-seeming decorations actually adding to a family's risk?
The group Search and Rescue Ohio posted the above image on Facebook, showing how a criminal might glean certain important information from car decals—and how he might use that against whoever owns the car. Seeing a child in a football helmet, for example, might mean that that child goes to sports practice after school. "Are you giving free information to criminals?" the image asks.
The image was shared more than 30,000 times, according to Search and Rescue Ohio, making it their "most popular post." But these warnings may be a bit overblown—it's entirely possible that a criminal has never actually used stickers on a car window as vital intelligence that enabled him to rob the family's home or kidnap a child.
That's the theory espoused by Jalopnik's Jason Torchinsky:
This is just stupid local-news fear-baiting. Don't fall for it, or, more likely, make sure your mom doesn't fall for it. You can put any kind of insipid stickers that you want on the windows of your car, and unless it's your Social Security number, you're not going to make yourself any more a potential crime victim than you'd normally be.
He makes a fair point (here's one local news station's story). And the only person who should decide what goes on your car window is you, after all. So if you think there's an added risk that comes with these decals, don't put them on your car. But it'll probably make no difference either way.