Posted on January 15, 2010
If you go to New York’s Times Square in part to gaze at the never-ending display of over sized billboards featuring lingerie ads, celebrities gleaming down at you, and skinny sullen teenagers hawking perfume, you’re in for something different. Starting today, the FBI will display an enormous billboard in Times Square near the TKTS Booth on 47th Street. The digital board will display a rotating list of New York fugitives as well as the number of an FBI tips hotline. Images of missing children will also be displayed. In addition, the board will take advantage of the number of international tourists by featuring information about criminals from abroad. The billboard is being provided free of charge by advertiser Clear Channel Outdoor. The nationwide project was launched in December of 2007. It’s now active in 20 cities, and features more than 1,000 billboards across the country, including many on major highways. Believe it or not, at least 14 criminals have been apprehended through the use of the billboards, including those whose crimes have included money laundering, armed robbery, and kidnapping. It’s hoped that the sheer number of people who pass through the Time Square spot, one of the most crowded corners in the city, will lead to some good tips. In Albuquerque, NM, a mother and son were driving by a billboard when the mother noticed that the image on the board looked like her son. It was. She took him into the local police station.