Stickers on your car could lead criminals to your door, police warn

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Bumper stickers seem pretty harmless, but what you have on the back of your car could be sending all the right messages to the wrong people. The Pinellas Park Police Department is putting out a warning for drivers about those stick-figure families and other stickers related to interests like gaming, guns, and colleges.

“I have an '802' sticker. That's for Vermont. That's where I'm from. [I have] the typical 'Salt Life' sticker,” Brandie Carlson, who owns a car with bumper stickers.

Those stickers could give criminals the nugget of information they need in order to learn more about you and your habits.

Pinellas Park police spokesman Lt. Adam Geissenberger explained how a criminal could put together small bits of information.

“You drive down the street and you see stickers from everything, like where a person goes to school, where the kid was in honor roll, including what kind of sports the kids play, if the parents are in the military, if they own a dog. Is it a big dog or a little dog?” said Geissenberger. “All those little things add up to people that are trying to prey on people for whatever reason.”

Some drivers told FOX 13 they think it’s a good warning to remind people of what they project.

“I think it's really good to know. There are definitely stickers I wouldn't purchase and definitely won't put them on my car,” said Carlson.

With our oversharing society, some drivers don’t share anything.

“No bumper stickers. We really just don't want people to know where we're going whether it's a child that has an activity or something we're doing,” said Aida Gonzalez, a Pinellas County resident.

Others with interest-related stickers are less concerned.

“I really don’t think someone is going to stalk someone to that extent,” said Michael Queal, who lives in St. Petersburg.

No matter what is on the back of your car, police said you could be advertising something about yourself.

“Every instance we have to educate someone about what they're doing with that information. We can hopefully lessen the opportunity that somebody has to victimize that family,” said Geissenberger.

While some may say sharing on social media could be riskier than bumper stickers, officers said you can turn on or off privacy online while stickers are there, wherever you drive.