True Crime Thursday – Slogans that Hit…or Miss

by Debbie Burke


Today’s True Crime Thursday offers a collection of catchy slogans meant to raise public awareness of various crimes. Some advertising campaigns address crime in general:

 “If you don’t have money for bail you should stay out of jail.”

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Or specifically, in anti-drunk driving mottos:

“You booze, you cruise, you lose!”

“Drive Hammered. Get Slammered.”




Crimes of violence:  “Let’s cut out knife crime.”

Photo credit:



Human trafficking:

“Slavery. Still happening today.”




Sexual assault:  “No consent + Sex = Rape”

The war on drugs spawned perhaps more slogans than any other crime. Samples include:

“Just Say No.”

“Drugs cost you more than just money.”

“No drug user grows old; because they die young.”

“Smoke fast and die young.”

“Don’t Meth Around.”

Last November, South Dakota proudly unveiled a new campaign against methamphetamine that cost nearly a half-million dollars:


The message caused an uproar…of laughter, probably not the effect the promoters hoped for.

Some slogans work. Others, ahh, not so much.


TKZers: What crime slogan sticks in your memory? The best? The worst?

This entry was posted in #truecrimethursday, Writing by Debbie Burke. Bookmark the permalink.

About Debbie Burke

Debbie writes Tawny Lindholm Thrillers with a Heart. The first book in the series, Instrument of the Devil, won the Kindle Scout contest and the 2016 Zebulon contest sponsored by Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Additional books in the series are Stalking Midas, Eyes in the Sky, and Dead Man's Bluff. Debbie's nonfiction articles appear in national and international publications. She is a founding member of Authors of the Flathead and helps to plan the annual Flathead River Writers Conference in Kalispell, Montana. Her greatest joy is mentoring young writers.

36 thoughts on “True Crime Thursday – Slogans that Hit…or Miss

  1. A very famous slogan in Australia was “If you drink then drive, you’re a bloody idiot.” . Direct and concise. Love it.

  2. While not major crimes, we have a few here in Jawjuh dealing with safe driving that show up on the highway road alert signs (between drive-times and accident alerts):
    “Click it or ticket” (a reminder that it’s the law to wear seatbelts)
    Similarly “Text it and ticket” (regarding hands-free/no texting while driving)
    There’s also: “Better unread than dead” (ditto)
    Buzzed driving gets, “Over the limit, under arrest”

    It’s kinda like a giant text message or twitter feed – they only have so many characters on those boards spanning the highway – so they hafta be short and to the point…

    • George, I’ve seen those alert signs with mini-tweets in Florida, too. They also can’t be too long b/c drivers would take their eyes off the road and ram the car ahead. Oops, that happens anyway.

  3. In my area, it’s “Get hammered, get nailed!”

    This one sticks in my mind, too: “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” That one can be morphed into just about any undesirable behavior. “Friends don’t let friends do drugs”, or “go home with strangers”.

    And one more: “Do the crime, do the time.”

    And my personal favorite: “Jail sucks!”

    I’m fairly glad I don’t have any personal experience with these slogans. 🙂

  4. (An egg.) “This is your brain.”
    (Egg in a skillet.) “This is your brain on drugs.”

    Hmm, I’m not sure if that was a health slogan or an anti-crime slogan, but it was effective because it stuck with me!

  5. The Missouri Department of Transportation has several clever messages on the road signs. Most are about texting and driving or impaired driving. I love them. There are several about using your seat belt as well.

    And because if you want to know how dumb dumb can really get you have the Missouri GOP and their representatives. HB1779 would ban these messages.

  6. The theme song to the tv show BARETTA had a line, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. Don’t do it!” Ironic, since Robert Blake starred, but a nice line, anyway.

    My state originated the seat belt reminder, “Click it or ticket.”

  7. Anyone remember McGruff, the crime dog? He starred in a number of crime awareness PSAs in the 80s. His slogan was “Take a bite out of crime!”

    Loved the character and the voice.

  8. When I lived in Australia there was an anti HIV/STD campaign with the slogan “If it’s not on, then it’s not on.” You can figure out where the emphasis goes.

  9. We’ve got a couple in NZ that stick with me, but it’s more the delivery than the message.

    “Stop a mate from driving drunk. Legend.” (

    Taika Waititi directed an amazing anti-drugged driving ad, but the message was a bit meh: “Drugged driving, is it really that safe?” (

    “You must always blow on the pie.” This went viral as a food safety message by a police officer who stopped a suspected car thief, who said he was going to the garage (gas station) to get a meat pie (

    “Better work stories” was a recruitment slogan for the NZ Police (

    When I was growing up, it was the egg/brain/skillet ad that stuck wtih me the most. Simple, but effective.

    • Some interesting videos from New Zealand, Mollie. Again reminds me of the old saying about two countries divided by a common language. Such different idioms from American English.

  10. I was told the following story, which is true if there’s any justice in the world:

    During WWII, an English village was plagued by GI’s driving at great speed through the middle of town. They put up a sign that said, “Drive carefully: The child you save might be your own.”

    Nineteen-year-old drivers who’d never even been on a date would respond by gasping, “Hey, that’s right!” and grind through town in compound low.

  11. Saw it on a church somewhere driving in north Florida:

    Honk if you love Jesus. Text if you want to meet him.

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