The University of Illinois Springfield Police Department offers the Operation Identification Program on campus. Engravers are available at the campus police department on a first come, first serve basis.
One of the most pressing problems facing law enforcement investigators today is the identification of stolen property. A large percentage of this property is not recovered and culprits are not apprehended because the victim is unable to furnish serial numbers or otherwise positively identify his/her property. In more than 90% of burglary cases, the victim is unable to immediately furnish serial numbers. In many cases this information is not received for days, weeks, or even months. In more than 70% of the cases, no information is ever received.
Operation Identification reduces the profit in crime. Most burglars steal valuables for resale. If you permanently mark your items with your Illinois driver’s license number, the burglar will be unable to sell them to his middleman or fence. He can’t take them to a swap meet or pawn shop. If a criminal knows all valuables in your home are marked, he is likely to look for an easier, more profitable victim.
To Protect Yourself
Record serial numbers in duplicate, keep a copy in a safe place away from your business or residence, and keep the other copy for ready accessibility. This enables police to trace and return stolen items.
Two Hours of Your Time
This is all of the time required to record and mark your items of value. They may well be two of the most profitable hours you have ever spent. Many police departments have engraving pens that are loaned out to people wanting to engrave their property.
Remember to include the abbreviation of the state immediately before or after the number.
Do Not Use a Social Security Number
Unlike your social security number, your Illinois driver’s license is readily available to any law enforcement officer. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and on holidays. We request that you mark all large items in the lower right hand corner. Any other identifying marks you wish to make will strengthen your ability to identify your property.
Use only one number for the entire family. Mark all removable parts of the item. Make engraved figures large enough to be easily discernible without defacing the item. Engrave the number in an obvious place on each item (lower right corner).
Items to be Marked
All items of value should be marked, which includes the following “choice” items for burglars.
Televisions, tape players, CD players, stereos, radios
Typewriters, word processors, computers
Bicycles, musical instruments
If you sell an item, use the engraver to draw one line through your number. Let the new owner engrave his/her license number.
Jewelry, antiques, silver, and heirlooms are items that do not lend themselves to engraving. Take close-up photographs of such items. You should include your drivers license number, name, and date on a card in the picture.