Wis. problem properties get a visit from armored surveillance truck


Problem homes in Racine, Wis. better watch their streets. The armored Armadillo truck might be parked outside, watching them 24/7. It's a new strategy of the city's police department, which hopes to stop nuisance calls by putting a surveillance vehicle outside the property for days to monitor activity.

It's kind of like actually policing your city, but without the effort required to do the job. Who needs to go knock at the party house when you can send the Armadillo to chill outside instead?

The armored vehicle will sit outside of homes that are repeatedly reported to police for noise disturbances, drugs, and other problems that can require constant monitoring to stop. We can't blame anyone from getting a little freaked out by a police vehicle hanging out and watching your every move. Just save the drug deals for a couple days later when the police give up.

Racine got the idea from Peoria, Ill., which has a similar vehicle. They claim it helped reduce nuisance calls from homes after the vehicle sat in front of the house for days.

From the Journal Times:

Hermacinski said the idea for the Armadillo began in the summer of 2006 when their police department was having problems with a drug dealer whose residence had become a nuisance to the neighborhood. Traditional strategies, such as building a criminal case for the drug dealing, were met with only minimal success.

Hermacinski said they decided to park an old squad car in front of the house, hoping that maybe it would at least temporarily curb the criminal behavior. Instead, the squad car was destroyed.

A short time later, Peoria Police Chief Steven Settingsgaard was driving past the department's parking lot and noticed an armored truck. Donated by a security firm, the truck only needed a few modifications to become their nuisance property vehicle.

Racine police will notify a home when the vehicle is outside monitoring them. They will also notify neighbors about the purpose of the Armadillo. The vehicle was donated by a security firm that contracts with the city and will be trolling the streets in a couple weeks. Nuisances beware!