Why do cops touch the rear of a car?

+45 votes
asked Apr 14, 2015 in Culture & Society by Haley (680 points)
I really enjoy watching those reality cops footage shows, where the officers would have a high-speed chase or just pull over an unruly civilian. I noticed that the cops tend to touch the rear end of the car they are targeting. Why do cops touch the tail light or trunk of the car? It seems like a practice that all cops do. I asked my uncle that was a policeman about it once, but he could not give me a definite answer. Why do they do so?

2 Answers

+24 votes
answered Apr 21, 2015 by Dawn (660 points)
Cops touching the rear of the car when they pull you over is in order to leave a “mark” on your car. It is done as a safety precaution. Leaving their fingerprints on the car gives a proof that they had been on the scene and in contact with the car. So if the cops got attacked and disappears, the “mark” left on the car could be used as evidence to track down the perpetrator. It’s an old police practice that is still used today, just as a precautionary measure just because of how dangerous the job could be on the field. Nowadays, video cameras are installed on the police cruisers and even the cops themselves, so the practice might die down in the near future.
commented Apr 29, 2015 by Yulia (360 points)
Wow, to leave their fingerprints… so genius
+3 votes
answered Apr 23, 2015 by Ashlie (460 points)
Why do cops touch the rear of a car? It is a shock tactic to the passengers inside the vehicle. When a police approach and touch a car, the drivers and everyone inside the car will usually stop whatever they are doing, just to not look suspicious. The tapping on the car’s rear is sort of an indication that the officer is close enough to see whatever the people inside are doing, so there is that psychological tactic in play. The people inside the car would then be stunned on what to do and stopped them from hiding any visible malicious items, maybe drugs or alcohol. This practice of touching the tail light or the trunk has proven to be effective, especially in arresting drugs peddlers and owners, and intoxicated drivers to name a few.
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