You could make a good case that “Jingle Bells” is the quintessential holiday song. You could also make a good case that shoplifting is the quintessential holiday crime. I guess it was only a matter of time, then, before some musically inclined individuals went and recorded a shoplifting-themed version of “Jingle Bells.” And I’m glad that these guys from the Hampton, Va., police department were the ones to do it.
Of all the off-kilter public safety videos I’ve featured on the Crime blog, this is probably the sweetest, and that has everything to do with the immensely likeable babyfaced cop who serves as the lead singer. With his goofy dance moves and enthusiastic vocals, I completely believe that this guy spends his shifts daydreaming about Santa Claus. I bet he’s also very active in community theater, and that he really looks forward to giving Hampton schoolchildren his annual bike-safety lecture. It’d be a joy to get arrested by this guy.
But there is much else to like about the video. From the endearingly terrible green-screen effects to the dream-sequence framing device to the handcuffed “shoplifter” dancing in the background, it’s full of holiday magic. Watch it again and again, and take to heart its sound advice: “Shoplifting is a crime / And Santa doesn’t play / So if you see a criminal / Call HPD today!”