Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Urban legends of gang initiations

You may have gotten an e-mail or seen a flier about supposed "gang initiations" in Kansas City. These e-mails and fliers are particularly directed at women and warn them against eggs on their windshield or carseats with baby dolls in them on the side of the road. They say if you stop and get out of your car to inspect, gang wannabes or robbers will attack you, and they say these things are happening in Kansas City. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

I spoke with the supervisor of our Gang Squad, and he told me nothing of the sort is happening in the Kansas City metropolitan area. There have been absolutely no reports of anyone getting robbed or raped or beaten after they stopped to wipe egg off their windshield or to inspect a carseat left on the side of the road. (Nor have we heard of any eggs on moving cars or carseats with fake babies in them on roadways.) He said variations on this urban legend include criminals hiding underneath cars to attack women or preying on women at Wal-Mart stores. Other messages say criminals play a recording of a baby crying outside a woman's window to lure her out to attack her. 

None of these things are true, but for some reason or another, people continue to forward them to others and incite unfounded fear and paranoia. Members of our department have fielded many questions about these urban legends recently, and I want to let you know once and for all that they're not true. If there is a significant threat to the safety of the public or a particular crime pattern, I can assure you that KCPD will get the word out about it as quickly as possible. In the mean time, if you see a message about any of the afore-mentioned "gang initiation" tactics, simply delete it or throw it away.

For more information about likely hoaxes, the web site has a whole section about urban legends of gang activity.

As always, however, we urge everyone to be alert and aware of their surroundings and to call police if you feel unsafe.

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