LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Everyone has seen them - little stick figure decals of moms, dads, children, and even pets on the back of trucks, vans and cars. However, one group in Ohio is giving those decals the axe, saying the stickers are giving too much information to strangers.
Lufkin law enforcement officials said the debate hits close to home.
"You tint your windows, but then you put on the back of your window who all is in your vehicle, so it might give a clue to a criminal that there is a mom in there, there's children, and that may be defenseless," said Capt. Alton Lenderman with the Angelina County Sheriff's Department.
It might sound crazy, but for some parents the decal stranger danger is becoming a bit alarming. Last month, the Ohio Search and Rescue group told a television station that the decals can alert predators to who is in the car.
"Part of the problem is you know we're proud grandparents, and we think everybody is normal like us, and unfortunately, there is an evil world out there of people who are not normal," Lenderman said. "It might be something where they want to follow them, see where they are going. Sometimes people commit what I call crime of opportunitys; they may act on an impulse thing. They may see something and say, 'Hey, I'm going to follow this car. I'm going to check it out or whatever.'"
But the stick figure decals aren't the only cause for concerns. Many logo stickers on the back of cars from Taekwondo gyms, or gymnastics academies have kids' names on them. That is another point of concern, Lenderman added.
Yet, many parents and proud supporters of decals, say they think the concern is blown out of proportion.
"I think it's silly. I don't see how that could make anyone a target," Tiffany Smith said.
"I think in a small town like this, it's pretty ambiguous. Everybody seems to have them," Alan Bassin said.
"I think if they are going to target somebody, they aren't going to use stickers as the reason why they are going to target a kid," Josh Ronan said.
Lenderman added that parents are going to do what they want to do, but staying alert is the best course of action.
"We got to live our lives if we're careful, and we try to be cautious; but we do need to live our lives. I don't think the criminal element should dictate to us how we live," Lenderman said.
Lenderman said the decals aren't the only thing we should think about. Posting names to clothes or backpacks is also concerning. Also, putting personal information like addresses or phone numbers on Facebook should be a big no-no, he said.