Last Christmas season, Staten Island D.A. Daniel Donovan cracked down on shoplifting at the Staten Island Mall by putting pictures of offenders in an attractive video display.
Donovan says that “the response to this program last year was incredible, with merchants and customers contacting us to express their appreciation that this crime is being targeted.” His office’s communications director, William Smith, tells us this doesn’t necessarily mean more shoplifters are being prosecuted: the arrest numbers “are consistent” year on year, he says, and “one issue is that not every person [the stores] detain is prosecuted.” (This being Staten Island, we assume they are usually taken out back and taught a lesson.)
But, Smith says, mall owners are more likely now to report apprehended shoplifters to mall security, and “the anecdotal evidence is that the campaign is effective.”
Donovan recently applied this shame-based approach to drunk drivers, sending pictures of drivers convicted of such offenses to the papers for publication. Who knows, it might just work. You can be sure Larry David will never steal forks from a restaurant again.