What Is Operation Identification?
Operation Identification is a project designed to discourage the theft of valuables from your home or business. This is achieved by you, the home/business owner, placing an identifying mark on items of value that could be stolen.
Property crime, including residential and commercial burglary, account for a large percentage of crime, yet only a small percentage of recovered stolen property is returned to its rightful owner.
Identifying Your Property
One problem is that few people can supply police with identification numbers of stolen items, which means police cannot find the owners of recovered property.
By participating in Operation Identification and making your property readily identifiable, you can help deter crime in two ways:
- A thief is discouraged from stealing marked property because is it more difficult to sell.
- It is easier for police to prove that the goods are stolen.
To identify your property, engrave your driver's licence number, prefaced by the letters CDL, on the property (preferably in a visible position, such as near a serial number). Items such as antiques, paintings, and jewelry should be photographed.
It is important that you make a record of all your valuable property and keep the list in a safe place. Details to be recorded are make, model, serial number and original cost.
How to Participate in Operation Identification
To participate, please contact the Murrieta Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Coordinator for further details. He/she will have sample equipment, such as electric engravers, and advise you as to their use and alternative methods of properly marking property.
Ensure that you place the appropriate Neighborhood Watch Operation Identification sticker on your property (preferably in a window) in a visible location. These are available from your Neighborhood Watch Coordinator.
Use Your Drivers License Number
Police recommend that you mark your property with your driver's licence number prefixed by the letters CDLNumber (e.g, CDLNumber 1234567).
Document Your Property
After engraving your valuables, inventory the marked property on a property sheet. The Neighborhood Watch Coordinator can supply you with this property sheet.
Photograph small valuables such as jewelry, stamps, coins, paintings etc, and write the details on the back of the photographs. Keep these photographs and the inventory in a safe place. A safe place within the home is in a secured plastic bag, placed in the refrigerator or freezer which functions as a vault in case of fire.
Previously Identified Property
If you purchase property that has already been marked for identification, place an X at the end, then place your number alongside (e.g, you purchase a second hand television which has been marked CDLNumber 1234567. Place an X at the end of that number, then inscribe your licence number, e.g, CDLNumber 1234567X-CDLNumber 7654321). Do not obliterate previous numbers. This may arouse suspicion. If you have come from another state, your licence ID is still valid.
When buying second hand property, it is important to obtain a bill of sale, or receipt from the seller, as proof of ownership or purchase.
How to Photograph Your Valuables
- When photographing your valuables, consider having it done professionally. The results are usually well worth the extra expense. Failing this, however, all you will really need is a good camera and a little photo sense. Instant cameras should not be used as the result will not be satisfactory.
- Clean jewelry beforehand, and set the pieces against a strongly colored background. (Red or dark blue are both very strong colors).
- Place a ruler or scale alongside the jewelry to give an indication of actual size of the item being photographed. The secret lies in avoiding harsh light as it will create too much reflection. Try diffusing the light from a window with curtains.
- A macro lens which gives you a reproduction ratio of 1:3 is ideal.
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