There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.

District motorists have learned to flinch at the sight of pink paper on their car windshields—announcing, from halfway up the block, that you’ve got a parking ticket. Now police in Tenleytown and the surrounding neighborhoods have begun to exploit this collective Pavlovian conditioning for educational purposes: With auto break-ins on the rise, officers from PSA 202 are going car-to-car and leaving pink leaflets under the wipers, warning residents not to leave valuables unattended. Besides their color, the missives mimic the rectangular shape and glossy finish of D.C.’s parking-violation slips. The design is intentionally misleading and disturbing, says police Lt. Mark Carter. “Usually when you put a flier on people’s cars, they don’t pay attention,” Carter says. “The momentary anxiety of thinking they have received a ticket means they’ll get the message. That’s better than the lasting anxiety of having your stuff stolen.” —Felix Gillette