Being caught in the act is a thief's greatest risk and their second highest risk is being caught "red handed" with the incriminating evidence, the property they have stolen. With modern mass-produced appliances and products looking identical, the police have no way of identifying recovered property as stolen goods unless the serial number is available or the item has been engraved with a property owner's unique number. Every year, law enforcement agencies across the country auction millions of dollars worth of recovered lost or stolen property because of the lack of identification. If an item has been engraved, however, the information can be entered into state and national law enforcement computer networks to trace these goods in a matter of seconds and the owner can be identified. This knowledge alone may act as a major deterrent to a potential thief since items that can be traced back to their original owners bring a lower price on the street, making the thief's efforts less rewarding.
Operation Identification is a crime prevention program where electric engraving pencils are loaned to the public free of charge so that they may engrave an identifying number on selected valuables for identification purposes in case the property is stolen. The program is designed to discourage the theft of valuables. Participating in this program will lessen the likelihood of the property being stolen, but in the event of this happening, the chances of the property being recovered by the police and returned to the owner will increase.
Call the Springfield Police Department Crime Prevention Unit at 874-2113 for information on checking out an engraving tool.