"Baretta" style setups

"Baretta" style setups is what my thread title should say, in case the Vb software eats my quotation marks.

From way back when, I remember the show Baretta featured Robert Blake and his parrott dressing up as an old lady in order to nab purse snatchers. I think this was even one of the scenes in the opening credits.

Did police ever really do this IRL? If so, why did they stop? Here in DC we have recently been having a string of masher-type crimes where people are getting mugged, beaten, molested, etc. with only one case (that I know of) ending as a murder. In this case, the woman was raped first, and I believe that if it has been Robert Blake in drag, it wouldn’t have even gotten that far. This guy always strikes on joggin paths in the same general area & always targets women jogging alone. This guy should be easy to bait.

If the perps had been shooting people at random, I could understand why police would be hesitant to use an under cover setup, but these are cases where the police know the bad guy’s M.O. and know what area he operates in. They also know that it’s strictly snatch & grab type stuff or holdups. Also I think that body armor has gotten thinner & lighter, affording more protection to the officer in drag.

Why isn’t this still a good way to catch certain types of serial-muggers?

When I lived in Houston in the early nineties there was a serious problem with high school thugs from the suburbs driving in to the gay club district for some queer-bashing. After one man was beaten to death H.P.D. responded by putting undercover officers on the streets dressed to look “faggy” to attract the attention of would-be bashers. The local queer community was thrilled – I remember hearing stories of cops getting stopped, thanked, and given fashion advice. (“No, no, honey … that color’s all wrong for you … .”) As I recall the sting operation coupled with a zero-tolerence policy toward under-age drinking quickly convinced the bashers to stay at home. Apparently the thug-boys were quite surprised to discover that the normally-not-very-liberal Houston cops were not, in this case, on their side … .

What a faaaaaaabulous idea those Texan police officers had, he said loudly in the hopes that a few more dopers might notice this thread & respond.