Residents of a neighbourhood in Chicago are criticising the police for setting up a ‘bait truck’ to lure thieves to an arrest in a poor, predominately black area.

A truck was filled with Nike Air Force 1 trainers and Christian Louboutin shoes in Englewood, Chicago.

It was a ‘bait truck’ parked there by Norfolk Southern Railway Police, with assistance from Chicago Police. The aim, according to a report by Vox, was to prevent cargo theft in the area by parking the massive truck in various parts of the city and catching any thieves who tried to break in.

Police arrested three people in this time, according to Norfolk Southern.

However Charles McKenzie, an anti-crime activist along with other residents have accused the truck of targeting neighbourhood young and ‘creating crime.’ McKenzie captured the bait truck on video and posted it on YouTube and Facebook, where it has now had nearly 700,000 views.

The following day, Martin G. Johnson allegedly followed the same truck to another location in Englewood.

Norfolk Southern spokesperson Susan Terpay told Vox the operation was intended to combat ‘freight’ theft but denies the allegations made by activists that the police left the bait truck open.

According to Vox:

Bait devices, be they unattended vehicles or packages, are intended to be stolen.

Police typically leave them in high-crime neighbourhoods in spots where thieves are most likely to take them.

A parked bait car, for instance, would be left in an area where car theft is a problem.

Bait devices are rigged with surveillance equipment and tracking devices so that authorities, usually waiting nearby, can quickly catch offenders who make off with them.

Community activists argue that the truck is encouraging crime, and by parking it in a black neighbourhood it brings race into the operation. In both clips, members of the community urge the police officers to take the truck away and go after serious crime, such as murder. Some ask the police if they would take the truck into white areas.

Latest statistics show that the vast majority of Englewood’s population is black - 96.6 per cent - and has a poverty rate of 40 per cent, though some estimates put that as high as 60 per cent.

McKenzie said:

The police parked a truck with boxes of Nike shoes in front of kids, lifted up and when people hop in the truck, the police hopping out on them.

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