BOSTON (CBS) – A cardboard cutout of a Transit Police officer is helping to curb crime in Boston.

The image of Officer David Silen is in place at the Alewife MBTA station, which is notorious for bike and other thefts.

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Silen admits, at first he wasn’t sure if the idea would work.

Officer David Silen stands next to a cardboard cutout. (WBZ-TV photo)

Officer David Silen stands next to a cardboard cutout. (WBZ-TV photo)

“I was actually a little startled by it when I first saw it,” Silen told WBZ-TV.

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Silen believes just the sight of an officer, real or not, is a good reminder not to commit a crime. Last month, just one bike was stolen at Alewife, compared to the five stolen in July of last year.

There are other benefits too.

“We’re not tied up taking stolen bike reports here so we are more available to respond to more serious crimes that require a police response,” Silen said.

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The MBTA is looking to use the cardboard officer at other stations, and not just for bike thefts. They hope it might prevent fare evasion and smoking.