Operation Identification

Feb 08, 2011

A thief’s greatest risk is being caught in the act and the second greatest risk is being caught with the evidence. Because mass-produced assembly line appliances and products look identical, the police have no way of identifying them as stolen goods, which leaves little grounds for incrimination. If an item has been inscribed with a driver’s license number, the information can be entered into a computer and the owner can be identified. This knowledge alone may act as a deterrent to a potential thief.

Many stolen goods are re-sold for cash. Items that can be traced back to their original owners bring a lower black market price, making the thief’s efforts less rewarding. “Clean,” or unmarked, goods are always preferred by burglars.

The Operation Identification stickers on windows and doors tell a burglar that you’re determined to protect your belongings. If you’ve taken the time to mark your valuables, a burglar can assume that you have taken other security measures as well. To the burglar, this means increased risk.

Your local law enforcement agency can provide you with electronic inscribers, window stickers, registration cards, and instructions. Inscribers and scribers can also be purchased at most hardware stores.

All items that might be attractive to a thief should be marked. Smaller items such as watches and photographic equipment can be neatly engraved by a jeweler without detracting from the cosmetic value.

It’s best to mark your belongings in a prominent place where the marking will be both readily visible and difficult to cover or remove without the attempt being obvious.

Engines and body parts of power driven equipment such as riding mowers and snowmobiles are frequently swapped to reduce the risk of identification. Mark both the engine and frame.

Make a record of your belongings including descriptions, serial numbers, and location of Operation Identification markings.


Every year, millions of dollars worth of recovered lost or stolen property is auctioned off by law enforcement agencies across the country. The problem: lack of identification. When unmarked stolen property is recovered outside the area in which the theft occurred, the chance of having it traced back to the owner is extremely small. Operation Identification allows state and national law enforcement computer networks to trace these goods in just seconds.

When reporting a loss or theft, mention that your belongings were marked with your driver’s license number and describe where the markings are located. Inscribing your driver’s license number on your belongings is an advertisement that the goods are stolen. By subscribing to Operation identification, you can cripple a thief’s opportunity to get away without incriminating evidence.

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