Traffic cops turn to dummies for help

Whether they work or not is up for debate, but these mannequins are definitely making heads turn

In a move that aims to counter the growing number of traffic violators in the city, the Bengaluru traffic police have deployed 200 mannequins to assist their staff, who they say are overworked and outnumbered.

Their logic is that the mere sight of a policeman on the road is enough to bring rulebreakers back to line. While we don’t know how much of a deterrent the dummy cops are for those who take illegal u-turns, drive without helmets or double park, it certainly is entertaining to see people putting down their phones, fastening seat belts, and putting on helmets when they spot these mannequins from a distance. 

In 2013, traffic cops in the American city of Boston put a cardboard cut-out of one of their men near a bike rack. By their own reports,  there was a 67 percent drop in rate of thefts. Perhaps, this is the model that the Bengaluru police took inspiration from. 

Their inanimate colleagues have been placed across the city, including MG Road, Manyata Tech Park and Gottigere. 

If the move proves to be successful, they plan to keep moving these figures around, so as to keep the commuters on their toes. They also plan to install CCTV cameras on them to catch the violators. It seems Big Brother is really here! 

Kudos for creativity, but it seems that these novel ‘cops’ have turned into city attractions. Dressed in khaki pants and a white shirt with a neon jacket on top, they have even been accessorised with a hat and sunglasses. A common concern many had when they first showed up was that the dummy could be stolen overnight. Don’t fret, nothing that drastic has happened just yet. However, it seems the mannequin on MG Road will need to file an FIR, because someone stole its sunglasses. Whether this is the job of a daredevil or an outlaw seems unclear at this point.

‘Scarecops’ doing their jobs?

Compared to scarecrows by many, the question on everyone’s mind is whether these mannequins really work. 

Nasir, a security guard at a nearby shop, says that the figure on MG Road has become somewhat of a celebrity with many people stopping to take selfies with it. He adds that the number of illegal turns at the Brigade Road junction have reduced. “At a glance, it looks like a real cop, so many choose not to take the U-turn and risk getting caught,” he says. 

Jitender, a business development professional, who travels the city on his bike says that he was fooled the first time. 

Sunil, a book vendor, says that people don’t park their cars on the sides of the road as much anymore. 

Auto driver Ilias says that he knew that it was not a real cop right away. “The mannequin is quite fair and it doesn’t fool anyone,” he adds.

Nasir had a few recommendations to make it look more realistic, “They should put a wig on him and maybe get him some gloves.”

 

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