Here’s some good advice. The next rainy Saturday or Sunday that comes up, do this:
Get your digital camera, paper and a pencil. Go around the house or apartment and take a digital shot or video of your television, CD player — all those things that make you happy and would make you sad to see gone. Write down the serial and model numbers and transfer that information to your computer. Then copy that to a flash drive or a CD. And then maybe copy it to another flash drive or CD and keep it someplace away from the home in case of fire or alien invasion.
If this seems like too much work, then let me pitch a good reason why you should set the DVR to record “The Moose Whisperer,” “What Not to Wear,” and “Jon and Kate Plus the Divorce Lawyer” and get your camera and get to it. Once we recover stolen property, many times we can’t determine the owners. The evidence stays in the property room until someone claims it or it gets sold on down the line in an auction. This includes really nice flat-screen televisions, DVD and CD players, guns, jewelry and GPS units.
We need to prove you own the stuff we recovered.
So find a not-too-noticeable place on the item and engrave or attach a small number, word or a short excerpt from the Gettysburg Address. Then and record that number on your computer, flash drive or CD, as mentioned previously, so the process of recovering something stolen from you will be much easier when we can easily match your stuff to your records.
Don’t use your Social Security number. Back in the pre-I.D. theft days, we told folks that was a good idea. What were we thinking? Not too bright. We’re evolving — slowly, but evolving.
What should you take a photo of? Well, what would you miss? It doesn’t have to have a serial number to be identified later on. Take dozens of photos, store them and sit back and relish the satisfaction of doing something constructive on a rainy day. (This also works when you’re not in the mood for yard work.)
Don’t forget to inventory those yard tools. They’re big on the “steal me” list right now. Landscaping companies have been getting beat up with thefts from trucks. In some cases, they steal the truck, drive it down the road, and strip it of tools. Anyway, the point is they’re a commodity on the stolen wish list, so take the pictures and then make sure the garage door stays closed — even when you’re home.
Thieves are bolder than you think. Many thefts occur when the resident is home and the garage door is open. Close the door. It’s more significant than you think.
And, believe me, taking an hour or two to shoot a few dozen digitals or video is well worth it.