‘CardboCop’ deters bike thieves


HANDOUT IMAGE: Joel Kinnaman stars in Columbia Pictures’ “Robocop.” Courtesy of Columbia Pictures and MGM Pictures. © 2013 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved. ALL IMAGES ARE PROPERTY OF SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC. FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY. SALE, DUPLICATION OR TRANSFER OF THIS MATERIAL IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

In Boston, they’ve dubbed him CardboCop — and some say, well, he’s a bit stiff.

But CardboCop is being credited with a decrease in the number of bike thefts last summer at the Alewife Station in North Cambridge. The station is on Boston’s Red Line. According to Morgan Rousseau, bike larcenies at the station, a hotspot for bike thieves, dropped by 67 percent compared to the same period in 2012.

The catch? CardboCop really is made of … cardboard. The faux officer is the photograph of a real transit cop — Officer David Silen, who volunteered to have his imaged used as part of the experiment. But the question is why?

“I think it’s our inner conscience. Even though they know that it’s not a real cop, there is some psychology at work. People realize it’s a cutout, but there is still a set of eyes in a blue uniform,” Transit Police Deputy Chief Robert Lenehan told Rousseau.

The experiment is going to be expanded. MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said there are plans to install CardboCops at three other locations in the system.

Eat your heart out RoboCop.

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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