Police Develop New Way To Mark Valuables

August 11, 2009 · Filed Under Events and News 

The Fort Worth Police Department has a long tradition of helping residents put identifying marks on personal property to deter theft and assist in returning stolen items.

The program called Code Pink was introduced in the 1970s and used an electric engraving pen. It was a good first step, but it has largely fallen by the wayside because it was time-consuming and the results were mixed.

A new prototype program is called RAPIDS — Recovered Auto Parts Identification System. The program shows promise in decreasing theft in ways the previous system never did.

The system is easy to use, cost-effective and flexible. A handheld scanner records driver’s license numbers or vehicle identification numbers (VIN), then sends the data to a police laptop, such as the ones in most marked police vehicles. The system converts the letters or numbers into a bar-code format, which is then sent to a nearby printer and printed on labels. The labels are small, difficult to remove and look like many other labels that come with everyday electronics.

Residents are urged to place stickers on television sets, stereos, global positioning system (GPS) units or other electronic items. If these are stolen and recovered, police officers can trace them back to their owner and file criminal charges against the suspect.

Fort Worth police often recover stolen car stereos and other items, but they have no way of returning them to their owners. The result is a property room full of recovered — but unidentified — electronic items.

Police are working with Citizens on Patrol and other groups to make RAPIDS labels available to residents.

When property with a RAPIDS label is recovered, an officer can scan the bar code and convert the data back to its original driver’s license or VIN format. The officer can then run the number through a state database to locate the owner.

Each Neighborhood Policing District (NPD) sergeant will be trained to use the system and will have a scanner available. The police property room will check for labels, too.

To learn more, contact the crime prevention specialist or neighborhood police officer in your NPD, listed on the Police Department’s Web site.


Source: City of Fort Worth


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