The frustration a victim of theft feels when their treasured possessions are taken is only compounded when police investigations turn up limited leads in locating those items.
Clinton Police Department officials know that all to well, and in another effort to improve service to citizens, have now implemented a property registration system they hope many across the city will utilize.
“We are going to start doing a property registration for residents of Clinton,” Police Capt. Donald Edwards said. “In our reporting software, Southern Software, we are able to register property. A lot of times people don’t think to write down their serial numbers or keep some of those things on record. Most people don’t think about keeping that information, or they will write it down and over time misplace the paperwork.”
The registration service is being launched this week for laptops, tablets and other mobile electronic devices, along with bicycles. Those are some of the most frequently stolen items, Edwards said.
“That’s our focus right now and we’re hoping to expand it a little bit more as it grows,” the police captain noted. “If somebody is interested in having us do that, they can bring the property here and an administrative specialist will take pictures and gather the information. We’re able to list the property with the owner’s information and attach a photograph into our reporting system.”
Participants need to be 18 and older and have an ID. Children would need to come to the station with their parents, whose names would be entered in the system, along with current address and contact information.
“That’s really all there is to it,” Edwards said. “Hopefully they won’t ever need it, but if a case arises we would be able to pull that information back up because it’s stored in our system.”
A lot of times people assume that companies will keep those records, but many times they do not unless there is some kind of warranty paperwork, the police captain pointed out.
“This will keep all that information in the same location. Without having those serial numbers, it’s extremely difficult,” said Edwards of the prospect of returning stolen items to their owners. “Again, I hope they never need it. But just in case, we will not only have the serial numbers written down, or any owner-applied numbers, we’ll also have pictures of it.”
In cases of theft, the resident would just have to contact the Clinton Police Department and notify them that the items were registered with police.
“If they know they’ve registered their items with us, and they change phone numbers or addresses, they can call us and we can change it in the system,” said Edwards. “Their information will always be there.”
Along with expanding the types of items able to be registered, Edwards said that the department could soon take the show on the road, offering registration services at certain locations across Clinton or as part of community meetings. Even though it is brand new, the program lends itself to quick expansion.
“We just chose bicycles and laptops, mobile devices, because those are typically some of the most taken, whether it is from someone’s vehicle, yard or home,” Edwards said. “We are looking at expanding this program based on the response we get. Any kind of feedback we get from the public we will obviously try to address and meet their needs.”
This week, the department also rolled out an extension of its Tip411 anonymous texting service, offering a ‘tipcpd’ app that allows for the same anonymous submission of tips with more ease of use and adding the ability to attach pictures.
The property registration system is just another service the department is using to better serve its citizens.
“I think it’s a good service for the citizens,” Edwards remarked, “and I hope they take advantage of it and use it.”
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.