Eye of the Beholder
Someone with bad intentions might be able to extract a surprising amount of information from some seemingly innocuous additions to your vehicle. Here’s what you want to consider:
Family First: You know those cute stick figure families you often see on the back of vehicles? They’re adorable, but they relay an awful lot of information. Are you demonstrating that your family consists of two parents and three young children? It’s not much of a stretch then to assume that you’ll be out of your home while taking them to and picking them up from school. Someone looking to rob you now potentially knows this is a time when your home could be vulnerable.
Passion Projects: What about decals or stickers related to your interests? Indeed, there would be little harm in displaying your love of running extreme marathons through the mud, right? What about proudly displaying that you’ve completed several of them across multiple states. That’s awesome! However, that’s also enough information to let a would-be criminal know that you’re likely to be gone many weekends.
Gearing Up: Something like “Proud Hockey Dad” seems safe, right? Unfortunately, not so much. Not only does this signal that you’ll be out of the house a lot while taking your child to games and practices, but it’s also an indication that you might have a treasure trove of valuable equipment either at home or even in your vehicle.
Vanity Plate Special: Customized license plates are fun! They’re a great way to express a bit of your cleverness and personality to the vehicles behind you. However, “TMEDWRD” might be more problematic than simply admitting your love for the Twilight Saga. A distinct and memorable license plate can make your vehicle stand out from the crowd and even make it easier to track and identify your vehicle later.
It’s not fun to think of the world as a place where bad actors could use the fun information you choose to display on your vehicle to target you for a potential crime. Most people who receive those messages will take note before, probably never thinking about it again.
However, some people will take this information and potentially find ways to use it that you would never intend. Like any other messaging about yourself that you make public, you should always consider the potential ramifications of your chosen decorations. So, before you place that next bumper sticker, ask yourself what someone with ill intentions might see.