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Police + Helicopters versus Car Thieves

by John M. White |

It seems that some cities on the East coast are having a lot of success stopping or even preventing car thieves from operating successfully.  And it also appears that car thieves watch a lot of televisions because they seem to mimic what they see and hear on tv. Playmobil-city-life-police-helicopter

Enter the police aviation unit helicopters equipped with FLIR and the pilots with night vision goggles.  It seems that thieves congregate with thieves, and that they talk to each other.  In some cases it is just like a couple of fishermen chatting with each other.  Thieves who have encountered the helicopter patrol units tell their comrades of being chased for over an hour, and how difficult it was to avoid being seen, followed and captured by these intrepid air warriors.

In many cases they are very well versed in police equipment, procedures and tactics. They gather their own intelligence and change their behavior based upon what they believe are the police capabilities. However, they can outsmart themselves. Recently in one city two suspects were chased into a backyard by ground units after a stolen vehicle pursuit. Although a good perimeter was quickly established, a very thorough ground search could not locate the subjects. As the ground supervisor was just about to release the perimeter, dispatch received a cell phone call reporting that the suspects had stolen a car and fled onto a nearby parkway. The only problem? Dispatch was able to trace the location of the call and it was inside the perimeter! Another search was commenced and the suspects were caught on the second go-around.

It seems that aviation has provided another weapon in the fight against bad guys, this time those in our own backyards.  So the next time your local community wants to get support for an aviation unit keep in mind how effective they can be.

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!


United hired gentlemen with the expectation of training them to become pilots, Northwest hired pilots hoping to train them to become gentlemen. To date, despite their best efforts, neither carrier can be considered successful.

— Ed Thompson

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