Japanese police fight crime with collection of 17,000 car brochures

Let’s do a quick show of hands, and by that we mean a quick mention in the comments at the end of this article. How many of you have at least one automotive brochure among the various automotive-themed articles in your household? Maybe it’s new, maybe it’s old, and maybe you have a lot of it. Crazy car collectors love brochures, but a police department in Japan might have the craziest collection at all.

That is to say, on condition that the 17,000 vehicle brochures are considered crazy. Wait, what?

This is true, according to The Asahi Shimbun. Aichi Prefecture in Japan is home to one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world and as such is packed with cars. In the pre-internet era, Aichi Prefecture police started collecting new car brochures with the aim of identifying cars involved in crimes. It is a process still used today, and after forty years of collecting brochures, there are no less than 17,000 in their possession.

Wed to like spending hours upon hours browsing classic Toyota and Honda JDM brochures just for the fun of it. But with 17,000, the collection is not limited to Starlets or City Turbos. The police department makes a point of obtaining brochures from automakers around the world, including brochures for limited production vehicles. After all, you never know when a VIP might crash their new Lamborghini Countach into a lamppost and take off into the night.

Does such an archive make sense in today’s digital world? The report states that neighboring police departments use the Aichi Prefecture Police Brochure Archives and even create their own archives. And it works, because the brochures recently helped police identify a car that caught a hit-and-run suspect.

Beyond that, the collection of brochures helps agents know the makes and models of vehicles, which can certainly come in handy during a prosecution. Leading a save to intercept a black two-door coupe could be confusing. Identifying it as a black 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS with the Weissach package leaves nothing to the imagination. Plus it sounds cooler on the radio than just saying cut.

So, if you find yourself in Aichi Prefecture driving an obscure car, don’t try to evade the law. They may know more about your car than you do.

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