A thief's greatest risk is being "caught in the act", and the second greatest risk is being caught with the evidence. Because mass-produced assembly line appliances and products look identical, the police have no way of identifying them as stolen goods, leaving little grounds for incrimination. If an item has been inscribed with a driver's license number or social security number, however, the information can be entered into a computer and the owner can be identified. This knowledge alone may act as a major deterrent to a potential thief.
The Navy Operation Identification program is designed to encourage service members and their families to mark their personal pilferable property with a standard Navy wide owner applied number. This numbering system permits positive identification of the property owner in the event of theft or loss. The principle advantages of Navy Operation Identification are theft deterrence and recovery of personal property. Marked stolen property is more difficult to dispose of, and illegal possession can result in prosecution of a thief. Recovered, lost or stolen property can only be returned if there is some means of identifying and locating the rightful owner. To ensure all property identification numbering criteria are met, a standard U.S. Navy wide owner applied numbering system was designated as the service member's social security number with "USN" prefix. Upon recovery of lost or stolen property by other military or civilian law enforcement agencies, the "USN" prefix will alert the recovery agency that the property belongs to a member of the United States Navy.
Some Basic Theft Prevention Rules
- If your personal property is marked with a serial number then record the number and store it in a safe place. In the event of theft you can provide the number to the police so that they will have an identification number linked with the property.
- Mark your property with your social security number and the prefix "USN."
- If your personal property can not be marked, such as most valuable jewelry. Then, take photographs of the property so that in the event the property is stolen the pictures can be used to help identify the property. It is recommended that when you purchase valuable jewelry that you have your initials engraved on the property. This can be used as an owner applied mark and help link the property with the rightful owner.
Where To Mark
- It is best to mark belongings in a prominent place where the marking will be both readily visible and difficult to cover or remove without the attempt being obvious.
- Stereo components, television sets, radios and other electronic equipment can be prominently marked on the back of the chassis or case.
- Engines and body parts of power driven equipment such as riding mowers and snowmobiles are frequently swapped to reduce the risk of identification. Mark both the engine and frame.
- When unmarked stolen property is recovered outside the area in which the theft occurred, the chance of having it traced back to the owner is extremely small! Operation Identification allows state and national law enforcement computer networks to trace these goods in a matter of seconds.
- Many stolen items are re-sold for cash. Items that can be traced back to their original owners bring a lower black market price, making the thief's efforts less rewarding.
- "Clean", or unmarked goods are always preferred by burglars.
In Case of Loss or Theft
- When reporting a loss or theft, be sure to mention that the belongings were marked with your driver's license number, social security number.
- Describe where the markings are located on each item.
Engravers are available an can be signed out from the NSA-Monterey Police Department. If you have any questions contact the NSA-Monterey Police Department at 656-2556.