Friday, March 26, 2010

Idea to share

I have a great idea to share with other police departments, but it’s not my idea.  Detective Sergeant Jim Breen came up with it, and Officer Katie Flood made it happen.  Here’s the story: a couple weeks ago, we busted up a burglary ring that had been quite prolific.  After the search warrants were served, we had a huge volume of household goods of all kinds: clothing, jewelry, cameras, electronics, and so forth.  These are obviously ill-gotten goods, but with a few exceptions we have no idea where it it all came from. We would like to get this property back to the rightful owners, and we would also like to tie these suspects to other unsolved burglaries.

The normal process of accomplishing this is a laborious process of contacting victims of similar crimes, and trying to arrange for them to come have a look at the mounds of property that we suspect is stolen.  It’s incredibly time consuming, inconvenient, and inefficient for both officers and victims.  Sgt. Breen asked Officer Flood if she could create a web archive of digital photos.  He and his colleagues laid out some of the most-likely-to-be-identified items, and took the photos.  Katie created a menu structure of categories, and tagged over 600 photos up for a web page. 

About two days’ labor was involved in this, but the process of getting the goods identified has now been vastly streamlined, and there’s a terrific return on investment for this effort.  Since these kinds of cases occur several times a year in agencies of our size, I thought this might be a good concept to share with other police departments who face the same daunting task from time to time. 

Here’s a couple of screen shots.  The URL is not published, though—we want victims looking for their property, without tempting uninvited visitors trying to claim something enticing.

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14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy seeing organized criminal conspiracies of the predatory or larcenous kind busted flat.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a good idea, but do insurance companies get involved at all on the bigger-ticket items if the victim has been compensated? Probably is a dollar amount cutoff or something similar.

Anonymous said...

I would think that sunglasses in protective case, or carrying cases etc. are more likely to have been taken out of a vehicle as opposed to a residential burglary. There may be many more IR's to read on larceny from auto's... ugh

Anonymous said...

My parents were victims of these criminals and we are very excited the LPD has caught them and are working hard to get everything sorted out. The website is a GREAT idea and I know my parents were comforted to see some of their items on it. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know how much I'm enjoying the recruit blog. I have a nephew who was a deputy sheriff and is now with the highway patrol, all in CO. It's interesting to get an idea of what he went thru to get there!

ARRRRG!!!! said...

Got anything like this?

Anonymous said...

The insurance companies want to be reimbursed for payouts. Having said that, most policies have a limit that will be paid for certain items, and it is generally an arduous process to make a theft or fire claim, prove values without current appraisals, etc. The insurance companies don't want items, they want cash, so they will negotiate. But, if you have jewelry, guns, electronics, tools, or other valuable items stolen, there is generally a maximum amount they'll pay as specified in your policy, unless you purchase an additional rider, and usually have an appraisal done on the items. Read your policy carefully. If you have $10,000 value in Snap-On Tools, your policy may specify $1500 maximum payout on tools without a rider. Your tools get stolen, they MAY reimburse you $1500. Theoretically they own the tools when recovered. The good news is they'd rather have $1500 than the tools.

256

Anonymous said...

Our stolen items were never recovered. So good luck folks. How does that work with the insurance companies Chief?

Tom Casady said...

3:24,

Wish I could tell you. The previous comment is a police-officer-turned-insurance-executive.

Anonymous said...

8:08,3:24, and Chief:

Here's the best aadvice I can give your readers. Document anything and everything you own. About once a year video everything in your home, garage, or posession and then put the video in a safe-deposit box at your bank. Review the items with a qualified insurance agent and discuss any special coverage you may need before you need it.

Here's why: You have a burglary at your home and your collection of Winchester lever-action rifles are stolen. That is NOT the time to discover you have a maximum of $1000 coverage for theft of guns.

Reason number 2: The next questions you will get from the insurance company will be:"Do you have a receipt or proof of purchase? Do you have any serial numbers or photos to prove you own this item you are claiming was stolen? How long ago did you purchase the item? What did you pay for it? You know, of course that we'll have to verify all information you give us, and there will be affadavits and paperwork involved before we pay this claim."

I'm not banging on insurance companies, just understand that the adjuster's job is to pay as little of the company's money to you as possible, so claims are rarely easy.

You should really hope the Police recover your items before the claim hassle occurs. However, if the items are recovered after you've received your insurance check, make sure you negotiate with the company to get your stuff back if you want it.

Document what you own and buy the coverage for risks you are not willing to assume out of your own pocket. Or hope you are not a victim.

256

Anonymous said...

Forgot to tell you Chief. I love this idea. Kudos to my friend Jim Breen and Officer Flood.

256

Anonymous said...

I have American Family. They never bicker. I had two claims in the last 15 years. Some places want more from customers than others. Shop around.

JIM J said...

Unrelated to topic,
I just had a women try to open our front door. After she waited a bit she knocked. Then she tries to steal our cat. Then she tries to steal the neighbor dog. I have a picture of the car from our security camera, as well as the plate number. I would not have gave this another thought, but the fact she tries to open our door to our house pushed me to the phone.

Anonymous said...

I saw some glasses like that on craigslist.org a few days ago. I wonder how much manpower it would take to monitor craigslist for stolen items especially jewelry.