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Catch criminals on a weekly TV series.
  [vote for,

[Edit: sexier name]

Two concepts here:

First, target dishonest businesses.

Local TV stations often have occasional "investigative journalism" segments where they expose a dishonest business, like an auto repair shop or a plumber. For example, they'll take a car that works fine, mount hidden cameras all over, bring it in for a problem that doesn't exist, and catch the mechanic breaking things or charging for services they didn't do. There's enough demand for this type of content to warrant a regular program.

There are a lot of businesses that thrive on the fact that their customers are clueless. This show would serve to educate consumers on how various businesses can take advantage of them and how they can avoid the problems.

It would also create a deterrence which does not exist today. Most consumers aren't able to spot the problems or prove their cases, and so few dishonest merchants will ever go to jail. Knowing that there is someone out there who is actively looking for cheaters can make dishonest business people think twice.

The targeted businesses in the first season might include: auto repair shops, HVAC repair, plumbers, camera stores, taxis, and movers. The businesses themselves can be small businesses or large corporations.

Crimes to expose might include: performing unnecessary repairs, charging for services not performed, over charging, racial bias, false advertising, and illegal questions in a job interview,

Second, target street criminals. Car thieves, pickpockets, muggers, rapists, vandals - they're all worth targeting.

Park a BMW in a lot that has experienced many car thefts or break-ins. Put hidden cameras and a GPS system inside the car, and place multiple super-zoom video cameras in the vicinity. Hire a college student to monitor a dozen cars in a dozen locations.

Get a guy to walk around a notorious neighborhood with something valuable sticking out of his backpack, and follow him with hidden cameras.

Video footage captured for TV can be used to prosecute the crimes. This will get criminals off the street (by arresting them) and will create a deterrence.

These shows can be licensed for local versions - CrimeFighters NY, CrimeFighters London, etc.

samk, May 27 2004

part 1 - something like this? http://www.itv.com/page.asp?partid=761
[po, Oct 17 2004]

Mexican version of "Vigilante" http://www.realciti...hayward/8116044.htm
Shame on them, shame on them [Pericles, Oct 17 2004]


       Cool, until the host is killed by a disgruntled con-mechanic that he exposed. (+)   

       Oh by the way, that second part, especially the part where the guy walks around, etc. is baked, by undercover police. I can't find the link at present, but I saw an article about an undercover police officer that only did this kind of thing..He's been mugged countless times.
Face, May 27 2004

       Make sure to include towing companies in the lineup. I don't know about where you live but in Seattle there's a lot of predatory “patrol towing” going on, including forged authorizations.
bristolz, May 27 2004

       "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?" ...I think this show has been a regular part of US television programming for over a decade. The producers of "Cops" only tend to focus on the chase down segment of most street crimes, but they could just as easily televise the kind of bunko scam that you describe.   

       The main reason you don't see nationally broadcast take-downs of John's Automotive Repair & Towing located in Lancaster, PA, or Redmond, WA, is that it is not intrinsically interesting to 99.9% of the rest of the viewing market as useful news unless it involves egregious sex, massive drugs, any kind of rock and roll, a royal (or presidential) family member, idolized or impugned celebrities, national public health, or a definitive way we can all become impossibly wealthy or magically slim overnight.
jurist, May 27 2004

       Jurist, As you point out, "Cops" doesn't do this. It's tag-along and hidden video. They could change the program by making it proactive and setting up traps, but then that would be a different program.   

       And reality TV has proven that the mass market is interested in "take-downs of John's Automotive Repair & Towing located in Lancaster, PA." People LOVE watching other people get hurt, especially bad guys. "Cops" is a great example of this.   

       I think the entertainment value of this comes from the vigilante aspect of this approach, which you don't get as a tag-along with police or in the popular security-camera videos. Everyone's been taken advantage of by some business, and so revenge is fun.
samk, May 27 2004

       In March this year a series of hidden camera videos were released exposing the heads of the mexican government as they were being corrupted/ corrupting somebody else. As the first video was aired on the news, the exposed party seemed to have another video to blame somebody else... and "somebody else" also had a video to say "hey, this other person has done it too!". Still, crime pays well enough; none of them have been caught or put to jail. Shameful, shameful. (see link)
Pericles, May 27 2004

       Baked. The show was "Fight Back" and it had a long, successful run in the mid-80's. A new version would probably get decent ratings however.
Nietzsche, Jul 19 2004


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