The Police Suck at Acting Like Regular People

The police spent a great deal of time and money trying to track down and punish nonviolent individuals. Oftentimes the police have to assume the identities of regular individuals in order to catch some of those nonviolent individuals. Fortunately, for those of us who are nonviolent but likely under the watchful eye of the police, the police suck at acting like regular people:

As anyone who’s watched a single crime story on TV or film knows, undercover detective work is dangerous business. There inevitably comes a moment when the crime boss gets suspicious. Scary, sure, but at least police officers have a working knowledge of the rules of the crime game. They’ve trained their whole lives to pull off this deception.

Passing yourself off as a credible music scenester, on the other hand, is an order of magnitude more difficult. Never mind drug lords—no one can identify a poseur more quickly than a hipster; sniffing out fakes is essentially the entire job description. That’s what Boston police are finding out as their bungling efforts to infiltrate the underground rock scene online are being exposed.

A recently passed nuisance control ordinance has spurred a citywide crackdown on house shows—concerts played in private homes, rather than in clubs. The police, it appears, are taking a particularly modern approach to address the issue: They’re posing as music fans online to ferret out intel on where these DIY shows are going to take place. While police departments have been using social media to investigate for years, its use in such seemingly trivial crimes would be rather chilling, if these efforts didn’t seem so laughably inept. It’s a law enforcement technique seemingly cribbed from MTV’s Catfish—but instead of creating a fake persona to ensnare the marks in a romantic internet scam, it’s music fandom that’s being feigned.

The story is hilarious and I’m not sure how the police can perform such acts and not feel embarrassed. Adding insult to injury the embarrassment is unnecessary because finding nuisance house parties should be easy, wait for an annoyed neighbor to call the police. When the police arrive to investigate they will probably be able to hear the music from outside and have grounds to write one of those noise violation citations they’re so fond of. If the show can’t be heard by the neighbors then it is not a nuisance and the police don’t need to waste everybody’s time by shutting it down.

While it’s disappointing to see the police sinking so much time and money into shutting down house parties it’s great to see they’re entirely incompetent at it.