LOGAN SQUARE — A social media-savvy police district in Logan Square hopes a short film they produced can help residents avoid having their car windows bashed in.
Two Shakespeare Police District officers decided that handing out crime-prevention fliers at underattended community policing meetings just wasn't going to cut it, so they opted for something different, making a minutelong "trailer" for a movie about how to prevent thieves from stealing stuff from your car.
The short clip even has a dramatic score to go along with messages like "Remember, a thief will break your car window to steal a $10 pair of sunglasses," while showing purses carelessly left on back seats and cell phone chargers in plain sight.
They said they didn't make it because of a recent uptick in car burglaries, but more because it's such a constant issue for them that could so easily could have been avoided.
"Our script was a 25-year-old auto theft prevention flier that the department put out," said Officer Aaron Levine, who along with his partner Jason Slater, works on the district's robbery and burglary prevention team.
"The themes are old. It's just updating the text and making sure we can connect with people," Levine said.
The theme is pretty simple: Lock your car and keep valuables out of sight. Even a phone charger should be hidden because thieves might assume there's a phone in there. As simple as that is, though, they said people will still leave their stuff lying in plain sight and wonder why their cars were burglarized.
So Slater and Levine decided to give people what they seem to want: a short, silly video they can mindlessly click on through their Twitter feed.
"You walk into a meeting and get handed a flier, the next thing you know it's scratch paper," said Slater. "This — it's like a silly short little commercial, but that's what people talk about the next day."
The Shakespeare Police District already has established itself as the most "social" district in the Chicago Police Department based on how much it tweets, so a YouTube video was a natural next step. They said other videos are coming.
Their boss, district Executive Officer Marc Buslik, said it's all part of an initiative from Supt. Garry McCarthy to try to reach out to communities in new ways, especially on social media, something he said Slater and Levine nailed.
"Admittedly it's not a Scorsese-level production, but they did just what the Police Department should be doing," he said.