A psychological countermeasure that trades style for security.

Japan is, by just about any metric, a very low-crime society. But while no one is likely to pull a gun on you while you’re walking down the street (unless you happen to be a high-ranking member of the yakuza), crime still does occur, with one of the most frustrating being bicycle theft.

Japan’s National Police Agency statistics for 2018 show that nationwide 183,879 bicycles were stolen. Nearly 40 percent of them were properly locked when the theft occurred, so clearly other countermeasures are also necessary, and retailer Village Vanguard has an outside-the-box, and out-of-the-butt, solution: bird poo.

The novelty goods specialist isn’t offering well-lactated pigeons for you to hold above your bike as you wait for them do their business, though. Instead, it’s hawking “Bird Poo Crime Prevention Stickers.” Coming three to a pack, these are rubber stick-ons that recreate the look of avian droppings. And not just the runny white part, either, as the designers made sure to also include a visual representation of the solidified black matter as well.

So how are these supposed to prevent crime? Well, most bike thieves ride off on the apparatus they steal, so the theory here is that if someone is looking for a bike to take, they’re not going to choose one that requires them to sit in bird poop as they make their getaway. Granted, that probably won’t stop supervillain-level criminals who are determined to steal specifically your bike. With so many bikes in Japan, though, the Bird Poo Crime Prevention Stickers’ purported effectiveness lies in their ability to make the thief think “You know what? Instead of stealing the bike with the bird poop on it, I think I’ll steal the clean one next to it instead.” In that sense, it’s sort of like those The Club steering wheel locks that were popular in the 1990s, just much, much grosser.

The downside, of course, is that your bike will look like it has bird poo on it, but some would say that’s an acceptable trade-off for the extra security and peace of mind, especially when you factor in that the stickers might also help protect you from being a victim of the odd class of Japanese thieves who don’t steal entire bicycles, but just their seats (though we can’t entirely dismiss the possibility that the presence of poop would make a seat more attractive to such individuals, since it really is very hard to grasp how their minds work).

Bird Poo Crime Prevention Stickers also works with motorcycles, Village Vanguard says, and honestly it seems like you could apply the concept to just about flat surface you want to keep others away from. Comfiest part of your family’s couch, or the optimal seat in your company’s break room? Just slap one of these babies down. Of course, to really sell the deception you’ll also need to occasionally leave a window in your home/office open and make bird call noises when no one is looking to create a plausible reason why there’s bird poo indoors, but once you’ve done that the spot is as good as reserved just for you. Also, if you have a job where your boss tells you to go outside and get pooped on by pigeons for the sake of science, this would be a great way to trick him into thinking you obediently did (though that may be the sort of problem only we have).

If you’re ready to drop these duplicitous dookies, Village Vanguard offers the Bird Poo Crime Prevention Stickers in a three-pack for 1,430 yen (US$13.50) through its online store here. The company cautions that you should keep them out of the hands of small children, but doesn’t clarify if that’s because the stickers can be a choking hazard or because of the absolute certainty that your kids will think secretly sticking them on your back is hilarious.

Source: Village Vanguard via IT Media
Top image: Village Vanguard
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