FREAK-TV Quiz: Steal This Car?

Video

The latest video on FREAK-TV is about a subject that sets many economists’ hearts a-flutter: externalities. It’s a multiple-choice quiz about car theft, asking what’s the best anti-theft measure to use if you want to protect not only your car but others around you. If you need a clue before making your guess, pause the video and take a look at this paper from the Quarterly Journal of Economics.


Justin

The same argument can be made for concelaed handguns. Since Florida passed a conceal carry law, the majority of street crime (mugging, car-jacking, rape, etc.) is perpetrated against tourists since they will most likely not be legally carrying a concealed weapon. Florida also has laws that require rental cars to use the same prefix, so crooks are shown which people are from out of state and therefore most likely to not be armed.

Rita: Lovely Meter Maid

Not clear to me is how a thief might fear a car has Low Jack, if it's not visible. Unless the savy stealer assumes that cars in better neighborhoods have this protection?

I think my method works best to deter car thievery (but it is confined to my own car, sad to say). I merely spray-painted in big, black letters on my car's hood, trunk and sides: THIEF!! STEAL NOT THIS CAR!!!

The humiliation you might imagine I experience for driving such a car is, counterintuitively enough, really rather minor compared to the blessed peace of mind I experience on a daily basis. Odd looks and downright startled glances from other drivers are but a small price to pay for such superb protection.

Jay Levitt

How awful, Rita... sure, that protects YOUR car, but think about the encouraging message you're sending to thieves!

THIEVF - STEAL! (not this car)

matt

a link to the video would be nice...where's the video? what is Freak TV?

John

I wish my neighbor would help the rest of us in the neighborhood by putting his piece of junk in his garage! It's a real eyesore, what with the big, black spray-painted letters on it...

Pete

This video will perpetuate the stereotype that cats are nefarious. :-(

T

Oh man, Boston used to be such a haven for car thieves, so glad a tool like Lojack really reduced it.

Zach

I just read More Sex Is Safer Sex by Steven(!) Landsburg, and there is a section discussing this. It probably is based on the journal that Dubner linked to, but I can't check since I don't have the book anymore. He went on to discuss how to increase the presence of LoJack such as subsidies from insurance companies.

Alex

I would make the argument that while putting your car in the garage may make street cars statistically more attractive to thieves, It also imposes an alternate positive externality: The neighborhood looks higher end. This achieves a similar effect to LoJack, except with slightly greater personal benefit, as for a neighborhood to become established (without advertising, which would blow the entire point) as a "LoJack" neighborhood, there would have to be a number of attempted carjackings. Keeping your car in the garage ensures that you won't be part of the "attempted" set, while providing similar sociatal benefits.

Michael

You really need a better video player.

I have a slow connection. On sites like 'youtube' I can pause the video and the player will download the whole thing, then I can watch without interruption.

With your player, however, pausing play pauses the downloading - so you can't download the video in advance.

The upshot of this is the video keeps stopping and saying "buffering" - sufficiently so to make the video unwatchable.

Please do something about this! Thanks.

Rita: Lovely Meter Maid

#3 - Only *If* I use parentheses, as you did! Still, your point is valid. One never knows how people will read one's car. So, just this morning, I added (in bold PINK letters) an addendum to my warning to car thieves everywhere: "OR ANY OTHER CARS, FOUL THIEF!!! (This went below all the other letters, on both sides of my car, plus the trunk and hood).
It's all a bit jumbled now, but anything, you know, for the sake of clarity. That's my motto and the creed I live by every single day of my life.
Unfortunately, now that I'm at work, I'm quite a sight, what with the various patches of pink paint sticking to my carefully casual business articles of clothing. Oh well. The day can only get better (one hopes)...

discordian

Does the same go for houses? If I have an alarm system with a sign that says "Protected by ______" will a potential burgler just move on to an unprotected neighbor?

(another minor complaint - about 25% of the time I post a comment I get a message to the effect of "you must wait 5 seconds between comments". And I know I'm the only bozo at my job (therefore my IP address) that reads this blog never mind posts to it)

frankenduf

the manufacturers could randomly install lojack in 51% of all new cars- that way all rational thieves would shake in their sneaks

Mario Ruiz

Dear Stephen,

High Tech is helping you and other people. If you have a cell phone in a group that goes camping and you have problems, guys at 911 can locate you with a GPS.

OnStar is also helping other people in several ways...

Why you ad LoJack?

Mario Ruiz
www.oursheet.com

Kamron

the majority of street crime (mugging, car-jacking, rape, etc.) is perpetrated against tourists

Oh, I would just love to see a cite for this likely-pulled-out-of-ass 'statistic'.

1389

I'm blogging on the issue of stolen vehicles being transported to the Middle East.

See: Is your car

going to the Middle East - without you?

I'd also like to know if anyone has any more information about the whereabouts of the missing Houston-area school buses.

I'd appreciate it if anyone with additional news or information on these topics would use this form to contact me..

Thanks!

1389

Justin

The same argument can be made for concelaed handguns. Since Florida passed a conceal carry law, the majority of street crime (mugging, car-jacking, rape, etc.) is perpetrated against tourists since they will most likely not be legally carrying a concealed weapon. Florida also has laws that require rental cars to use the same prefix, so crooks are shown which people are from out of state and therefore most likely to not be armed.

Rita: Lovely Meter Maid

Not clear to me is how a thief might fear a car has Low Jack, if it's not visible. Unless the savy stealer assumes that cars in better neighborhoods have this protection?

I think my method works best to deter car thievery (but it is confined to my own car, sad to say). I merely spray-painted in big, black letters on my car's hood, trunk and sides: THIEF!! STEAL NOT THIS CAR!!!

The humiliation you might imagine I experience for driving such a car is, counterintuitively enough, really rather minor compared to the blessed peace of mind I experience on a daily basis. Odd looks and downright startled glances from other drivers are but a small price to pay for such superb protection.

Jay Levitt

How awful, Rita... sure, that protects YOUR car, but think about the encouraging message you're sending to thieves!

THIEVF - STEAL! (not this car)

matt

a link to the video would be nice...where's the video? what is Freak TV?