the most effective tools you can use to retrieve property stolen from your home is a
simple electric engraving pen. With this pen you can inscribe your name or a number on
the most valuable items in and around your home. Before you do this, check with local police to see which
they prefer you use - your name, driver's license, social security number or whatever.
name or number on your valuables helps deter robbery in two ways: First, you discourage the thief since
marked property is much more difficult to sell. Second, if a thief does steal your property, it is much easier to
catch and prosecute him when he is discovered with goods in his possession that are easily
identifiable as stolen.
dollars worth of property stolen each year is never returned to the owners. Why?
Because without some identifying mark or number, the police are unable to verify stolen property, or trace the owner. More than
half the property recovered by the police is eventually auctioned off or destroyed because the goods
have no identifying characteristics.
cities, local law enforcement agencies will lend you and your neighbors an engraving pen free. In these
communities, you may borrow an engraving tool for several days. If this service is
not available to you, you can purchase an inexpensive electric pen from your local
hardware store for as little as $10 to $15. This small investment could be worth a great deal
more to you at a later date.
marked with a serial number - such as cars, TV's, cameras, typewriters, radios,
stereos, tape decks, appliances, etc., may not have to be engraved with your name or personal
number. Check with local police first. If they recommend you inscribe your identifying mark on serialized items,
inscribe this information just above the manufacturer's serial number.
On non serial
numbered property, inscribe your name or number on the upper right corner of the rear or backside of
each item. Should you decide to sell or discard the item at a later date, you should invalidate your
number by using the engraving pen or any sharp tool to draw a single line through your name or number
from the upper left to the lower right hand corner. Do not deface your name or number in any other way.
It is also advisable, when selling "marked" property, to write out a simple receipt and specifying on it
that you were the previous owner and indicate the name or number used by you. This could
prevent legal hassles for the new owner at a later time.
smaller valuable items such as jewelry, silverware, etc., it is wise to take a
photo of each item. A Simple, instant-type camera photo is sufficient.
After you have
marked and/or photographed all your valuables, make a detailed list of these items and
keep it in a safe place. When new items are acquired, add them to your list. As other valuables are sold
or discarded, cross them off the list.
If you use
credit cards, they should also be recorded on your list. Either copy your account number from
each card and expiration date, or you can have photo copies made for your records.