What is Operation
Operation Identification is a national program designed to
discourage the theft of valuables from your home or business. This is achieved by placing an identifying
mark on your valuable items that could be stolen. Participating in this program will help
decrease the likelihood of your property being stolen and increase the chances
of your property being recovered and returned to you. This identification can give the Police a greater
chance of tracing the property back to the thief and lead to their
This program requires a small amount of time and effort on
your part. It involves marking and then
inventorying your property. Identifying
markings deters a market for the stolen items. Valuables marked conspicuously with your driver’s license number or name
and address make the items less resalable. Operation Identification also works when your property is recovered and
lets you identify it so it can be returned to you.
What Number to
Use the Personal Property Inventory Form that you can
download from here or an available copy at the Norwell Police
Department. List all your important
valuables by description (brand, model, color, size, etc.). Also note the location where you have
engraved your personal identification mark. The most effective number is your State
Driver’s License Number. Put the
abbreviation of the state it was issued in after the number (e.g.: S12345678 MA). Police across the country have access to this
number through state motor vehicle records. DO NOT USE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY
What to Mark and How
An engraver will mark steel, plastic, wood, or any hard
surface. No special skills are needed,
just use it like you would a pen or pencil. Do not press down on the engraver; allow the engraver to etch smooth and
even lines. DO NOT ENGRAVE ON REMOVABLE PARTS such as doors, lids, plates,
etc. If possible, pick a place close to
the object’s serial number.
For bicycles, radios, stereos, televisions, cameras,
computers, electronics, tools, sporting goods and appliances, use the engraver
to mark your identification on a conspicuous and permanent part of the
item. Metal or plastic parts are best
for making a smooth and legible mark.
Leather, fiberboard, or cloth items can be marked with a UV
security marking pen or a contrasting magic marker. It is best to engrave items because UV
markings and magic marker fade over time and are not permanent.
A jeweler may
engrave jewelry and antiques. For
musical instruments, valuables, etc., place the object against a plain
background. Include a ruler for scale
size and a label with your identification number. Take several pictures at different angles and
note any distinguishing marks. Label the
slides or keep them on a digital storage device and keep it with your Property
Once your property
has been marked and your Property Inventory Forms are filled out, keep the
forms in a safe and secure place. DO NOT SEND COPIES TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. Obtain Operation Identification stickers at the Norwell Police
Department. Display the Operation
Identification stickers on any doors and windows that may be used for
entry. By advertising your participation
in Operation Identification in this way, you are announcing that your valuable
property has been marked and will be difficult to re-sell if it is stolen.
Insurance and Other Considerations
Insurance is recommended for everyone. Replacement value insurance is important and
can help reimburse the current cost of the item rather than a depreciation
value. If you rent a home, renters
insurance may be obtained to cover your items. Landlords only have insurance to cover the building not your personal
Remember to update your Property Inventory Forms (to include
updated photos) and update all information with the insurance company. These steps will help to keep your new items
insured in the event they are stolen.
If you have any
questions or wish to use the department’s engraver, please contact Officer Sean
Sutton, Crime Prevention Officer, at 781-659-7979.
ENGRAVE IT AND SAVE IT!
is the most frequently committed crime in the United States. By participating in Operation Identification
you are taking one important step to protect your possessions from burglary and