Operation ID

Did you know that your local police station can be a source of great information on safety and security? I stopped by my local police station recently and I picked up a booklet called Community Policing, A Citizen’s Handbook. One section of the booklet is devoted to Operation ID, which I thought had some good tips for safeguarding your property.

What is Operation ID?

It is the practice of marking your valuables for identification purposes.

How does Operation ID work?

First, assuming you already marked your property with an identifying number, like your driver’s license number, if your property is stolen you could report it to your police department, and then when it is recovered they would know whom to contact becuase they could match the identifying number on the property to the one on the police report you filed.

Why Operation ID works?

Thieves often sell the stolen property to a “fence” (a criminal who buys stolen property.) Because a fence does not like purchasing property that has identifying numbers inscribed anywhere on it, thieves know this and generally stay clear of property that has any identifiying marks.

Contact your police department to see if they have “Operation ID” decals to place in open viewing areas on doors and windows. This tells a thief that its not worth the trouble to steal from this house.

Inventory of Your Property

It is not only necessary to mark your valuables but you must also have adquate records of your valuables so that if they are lost or stolen you can provide police with sufficient date to aid in their recovery. Included in your PortaVault is a Household Inventory form that could be used to complete an inventory.

I encourage checking with your local law enforcement agency for more information on Operation ID. Many local law enforcement agencies have engraving units they will loan for marking valuables. Also check to see if your local neighborhood watch group is involved in Operation ID, as they may be able to assist you in marking your valuables.


Other sections of the Community Policing A Citizen’s Handbook, includes information on; working with police;neighborhood watch; when to call police; when to dial 9-1-1; cellular phones; crime prevention; street crime and actions to take.  Stop by your local Police Station and see if this booklet is available.