Police Enter Unlocked Vehicles to Remind You to Lock Up Under New “Gotcha!” Program

gotchaBy Kristan T. Harris

Dixon police are checking to see if local vehicles are left unlocked under a new program called “Gotcha!”

A Reddit user posted an image of a ticket he received reminding him to lock up his vehicle by local Illinois authorities and claimed that the “local police department unlawfully” entered his “unlocked vehicle to prove a point.”

While reaching out to the Dixon Police Department to verify, the responding officer on the phone reassured me that the Gotcha! program was not a prank, however a “real program to remind you to keep your valuables and personal belongings out of clear site” and to “keep your vehicle locked.”

When I asked for the officer’s name that issued the ticket I was then informed that the person was “not a real police officer,” however a “Community Service Officer.”A Community Service Officer has a badge, and carries a police radio, however has limited authority, according to the Sauk Valley newspaper.

The orange card is filled out and then placed in your vehicle to kindly remind you to lock up your vehicle.

The notification states “If I were a criminal I would have stolen…” and goes on to list personal belongings that were in the vehicle observed by the CSO.

The law enforcement agent informed me of possible dangers stating “vehicle break-ins are on a rise” during this time of year and reiterated that all “valuables should be kept out of plain site at all times.”

The question remains, does this fall under the police’s duty to protect and serve since the doors are left unlocked or is this a clear violation of the 4th amendment and an illegal search?

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8 Comments on "Police Enter Unlocked Vehicles to Remind You to Lock Up Under New “Gotcha!” Program"

  1. If the police enter the vehicle without permission, it’s an illegal entry/search. No doubt about it. If someone LESS than an officer enters the car, then it’s illegal entry and that is a crime as well. They are just using this scam to snoop. “Oh, we went in to DO GOOD AND HELP and LOOK WHAT WE FOUND BY ACCIDENT !!”. Count on it.

  2. It’s creepy and lame and misguided even if motivated by good intentions, which is questionable at best.

  3. What’s next? Baton window bashing to prove that your alarm should’ve been set?

  4. The new normal. A pilot program for the USSA

  5. So are the police being arrested for illegal entry?

  6. People in Dixon should have high voltage wired to there door handles, and when some one gets zapped have a recording, “Gotcha, I bet you thought this vehicle was easy pickins!” Or “Gotcha, your trespassing and I’m calling the police to unstick you!”

  7. You know what’s soooo freaking ironic about this?

    While the Dixon coppers are worried about Average Joe Citizen leaving his personal car unlocked – the city treasurer embezzled $54 MILLION dollars from the taxpayers ….

    How about doing some POLICE work in & around the city gooberment?

  8. The complainant is correct. Opening a car that does not belong to you..is breaking in. The community officer…should have left the orange card, on the windshield. Back in the 70’s when I was a police officer, I could not enter a car belonging to someone else…unless there was danger, to either a human being, or a pet, inside. Today, you cannot even get a police officer to use a “jimmy”, to open a locked door, for an OWNER of a car. You have to call a locksmith, and pay a fortune. In my day..we DID “jimmy” open car doors, for true owners. Protect and SERVE was the motto, back then.

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