Keep track of serial numbers to keep your belongings safe
Crime, especially burglary, is something that can happen anywhere and to anyone. Truly, the best way to avoid becoming a victim of crime is to take steps to prevent crime and if the unfortunate does happen and you are a victim of crime, then it is important to have a strategy to identify stolen possessions.
The Memphis Police Department (MPD) promotes several initiatives that support crime prevention. One such strategy is their “Stow It, Don’t Show It’ program to prevent burglary from cars and the use of engravers to identify stolen property.
Since Midtown does not have many homes with secured garages, the vast majority of Cooper-Young residents park their car either on the street or in their driveways. A burglar sees cars as a quick and easy opportunity to steal items. The best strategy to prevent valuables from being stolen from a vehicle is to “Stow It, Don’t Show It.”
It is best to leave absolutely nothing in a vehicle, even a little bit of spare change. If a burglar sees anything thing in a vehicle that may be of some small value, then it is worth breaking into the car to obtain, even for a mere 50 cents. If there is something that needs to stay in the car, then it should not be visible. Don’t leave anything sitting on the seats or in the floorboard. Items should be secured in the glove-compartment or the trunk.
The MPD says that some of the most common items stolen from cars include: tools, purses, laptops, briefcases, sunglasses, credit cards, GPS devices, loose change and mobile phones. Remember, the likelihood of a burglar breaking into a vehicle is substantially reduced if there is nothing for them to steal.
Should the unthinkable happen and your home or car is burglarized, do you have your personal property identified? Do you maintain a record of the serial numbers of your property? In order to identify stolen property, the MPD needs a definitive way to be able to identify the stolen property.
The MPD suggests keeping a record of the serial number of anything in your home or car that has a serial number. This includes smart phones, computers, modems, televisions, bicycles and even the microwave. When reporting the crime to the MPD, you will have a list already prepared to with the serial numbers of the items so there will be no delay in returning the items to you if found.
Any time items are taken to pawn shops to be sold, they are required by law to document serial numbers and upload them to the MPD database within 24 hours. If the pawn shop has a laptop with a serial number that matches one listed as stolen on the MPD’s list, then the MPD recovers the property and it can be returned to the owner.
Think it cant work? In January, C-Y resident and CYCA executive director Kristan Huntley discovered her bike ad been stolen off her porch. But because she kept track of its serial number and could give the information to police, her bike was returned by the MPD the very next day.
In addition to the list of serial numbers, the MPD highly suggests engraving your items with your driver’s license number. You simply engrave the item with TN and the number. This provides another mechanism to identify you as the property owner and it does it in a way so as not to compromise your personal identity.
The Cooper-Young Community Association has two engravers available for residents to use to mark their items and will be hosting an engraving day on March 1 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come by the CYCA office at 2298 Young and help make Cooper-Young a place that criminals want to avoid.
Remember, if you see any suspicious activity or need to file a report, call the MPD non-emergency line at 545-COPS (2677). If you are in danger or you see a crime in progress, immediately call 911 to report it to the police.
By Wes Williamson/CYCA safety committee chairman