More cities are putting large wanted posters on billboards to catch criminals, says USA Today. Since February 2004, Kansas City, Mo., has erected 10 billboards with the names and photos of fugitives wanted for murder, with a phone number for anonymous tips and the lure of cash rewards. Eight have been captured, says Sgt. Craig Sarver of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission, and “seven of those eight have been related directly to the tips from the billboards.” He says they work because so many people see them, often several times a day. Wanted billboards are used in cities from Philadelphia to Yakima, Wash. Officials in Charlotte installed their first ones Monday. One goes up next week in Queens, N.Y.
Barbara Bergman, a law professor at the University of New Mexico, says the billboards could influence potential jurors or change witnesses’ recollections. “It may well impact their memory of the person they actually saw,” she says. Advertising companies usually donate part or all of the cost. Dallas erected its first wanted billboard Dec. 29; the suspect, wanted for murder and aggravated robbery in November 2004, turned himself in Jan. 11.