Monday, June 04, 2012

Fighting Fire with Fire

In our politically polarized world, there are still two things that can engender disdain from both sides of the aisle, robocalls and bandit or snipe signs. Snipe signs of course are those roadside signs that hold messages like “we buy houses,” and “credit repair ” along with a phone number to call. Unlike robocalls, snipe signs are prohibited in HoCo but that doesn’t seem to stop the loco proliferation of the signs. As fast as public works crews remove them, new ones pop up in their place.

In Hollywood, Florida, local officials have begun using the legal nuisance, robocalls, to fight back against the illegal nuisance, snipe signs. According to this story by Robbie Brown in The New York Times, “some coastal communities have begun aggressive campaigns against the signs — by robocalling the advertisers’ phone numbers.”

“It’s the only crime I know of where a person deliberately leaves their phone number behind,” said Mayor Peter Bober of Hollywood, which uses computer software to call the phone numbers, up to 20 times per day, until offenders pay a $75 fine. “They want us to call. So let’s call. And keep calling.”

It appears to work. In Hollywood, snipe signs have dropped 80%.
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