Take a few minutes to help protect what’s yours



 

 

One of the most frustrating things a law enforcement officer faces in dealing with property crimes is to find out the victim did not have their serial numbers recorded. For forty years law enforcement has sponsored public service campaigns to educate and remind people to mark their belongings and record a detailed description of them. Yet approximately 70 % of all residential burglary victims tell the investigating officer that they do not have the serial numbers to what was stolen. Law enforcement stands a much greater chance in being able to recover your personal property when armed with the serial number.

So let’s take a few minutes to create a format and a list. Any type of list on any piece of paper whether created on a Big Chief tablet or your home PC should suffice. I would like to recommend the following layout to record this vital information.

EXAMPLE Make ………………………. Mod #………. Serial#…………

Description……………… Cal…………… Color…………… Misc.
Smith & Wesson……… 10…………….. 1234567………. Revolver………………. .38………………stainless……… black grips
Craftsman………………. 100-789……. 76543210……. Gas chainsaw……………………………..Red/Gray…….. 18” bar
RCA…………………………. 2015ABCD… 001992283….. 42” flatscreen TV……………………….Black…………… HD

Include all these categories and you should be fine. If you have more information don’t hesitate to put it down. You can’t have too much information. Go through your house, shop and outbuilding and list all the items that may be susceptible to being stolen, i.e. Power tools, lawn mower, utility trailer, televisions, firearms, computers, electronics, video gaming systems, grass trimmer and jewelry. It may also help to photograph some if not all of the items. When the list is complete you need to make at least three copies. Keep one in your safe if you have one, one tucked away in a book and one at work or another safe inconspicuous place.

In the event of a theft or burglary you will be able to provide officers with this very important information. With a serial number, police can enter the item into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer available to officers from all jurisdictions in all 50 states thus significantly increasing the chances of recovery as well as identifying who committed the crime.

Owner Applied Numbers (OAN) are also helpful with items such as hand tools that don’t have serial numbers. Your Texas drivers number engraved into an item would also help in identifying and recovering the property. I hope you take the time to utilize these tips and most of all I hope we never have to ask you for it.

Until next time, be safe and help protect what’s yours, Sheriff David Soward

DAVID SOWARD is a 39 year veteran of the Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office and is in his first term as Sheriff. Sheriff Soward holds a Master Texas Peace Officers License.


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