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Altamonte Springs Police Department
Monday October 4th, 2010 :: 12:25 p.m. EDT


Serial Numbers Prove To Be a Detective’s Best Friend? See email for full story.

There are over 100 million televisions sold each year. What is the one difference that allows law enforcement to identify a television as stolen? The Serial Number. Just like no two humans have the same fingerprints (not even identical twins) no two televisions have the same serial number. The same principle applies true to computers, GPS units, cell phones, and other popular items targeted by thieves.

There are three things burglars consider their arch-enemy: a well lit area, a barking dog, and recorded serial numbers. A person who has taken the time to record his/her serial numbers prior to becoming a victim has a significantly greater chance of having their crime solved and property returned. Most stolen property ends up at a pawn shop which is required by law to share their daily inventory with law enforcement. A detective working a burglary case can easily track down stolen property which ends up in a pawn shop if and only if the victim was able to provide serial numbers to their stolen property.

Not all items have serial numbers such as certain pieces of jewelry. The next best thing to a serial number is a close-up photograph that captures the unique design of the item. For insurance purposes it’s also good to have a photograph of the piece of jewelry being worn by yourself. Other items that may not have an assigned serial number and provide ample space can be engraved with a unique set of numbers. Most people choose their drivers license number which easily identifies them to law enforcement. Social Security numbers should be avoided which may lead to identity theft.

And Nixle reader “Sibil” offers this valuable piece of information. In addition to recording serial numbers it is a good idea to record and/or photograph the contents of your wallet should it become lost or stolen. This information stored in a secure location, such as a safety deposit box, can prove quite helpful in recalling credit card account numbers and customer service numbers to quickly suspend/cancel those accounts before falling into the wrong hands.

Altamonte Springs Police Department
175 Newburyport Ave
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 407-339-2441

Lt Darin Farber
COPS Section

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