A few weeks ago pawn shop owner Anna Lovell posted a tall stack of pawn tickets with a statement about how they haven’t been seen by any member of law enforcement in years. This caught the attention of East Ridge News Online Publisher Dick Cook who decided to look into the issue.
Mr. Cook learned from his investigation that at least 40% of pawn shops in East Ridge were submitting pawn ticket information to an online database that was inaccessible to the East Ridge Police Department. Upon further investigation he learned that this database was being used across our area and all over the nation to recover stolen property. In a conversation with an East Ridge Detective he learned that detectives had been successfully using the database through back channels to recover as much as $100,000 in stolen property last year.
In an interview the Police Chief told Mr. Cook that he was aware of the software and it was on his “wish list” but had been unable to purchase it thus far due to budget constraints.
Upon reading this information I was outraged. While I thankfully have never been a victim of property crime, I know others who have been. I have seen what they go through as they struggle to both simultaneously figure out what’s missing and figure out how to replace items. That is assuming of course the items are replaceable. I mean can one really replace their mother’s wedding ring?
Last night I went to the city council meeting and during the communications from citizens portion of the meeting I asked that something be done about this issue. Interim City Manager Mike Williams informed the council and those in attendance that earlier in the day the city had purchased leads online software.
With this purchase the East Ridge Police Department will gain direct access to search a national database for stolen items. Furthermore, they will be able to set up alerts that if an item matching a certain serial number is pawned at a later date the officer will be notified.
Property crime is a significant problem within our city. I am certainly glad that the police department has this tool at their disposal. I believe it will make a difference when it comes to recovery of stolen property.
Lastly I want to encourage everyone out there to consider making sure their home inventory is completed or up to date. If you’ve never made one its simply a log of items in your home along with serial numbers, and potentially the price you paid for the item and description. It will assist the police in recovering your items and the insurance company with replacement if you are insured.
There are some great Home Inventory Apps that let you take photos and document the contents of your home and save them online for retrieval later.