I would like to take a few moments this week to explain the importance of safeguarding your high-value items. Some of the most common items taken during a breaking and entering are guns and jewelry. There are steps you, as a home owner, can take to increase the likelihood we will be able to recover your items in the event a criminal takes your things away.
Let discuss firearms first. Knowing the serial number of your firearms is critical. When we know the serial number on a stolen gun, we can enter the serial number into the national database. This way, if another law enforcement agency runs the serial number, the gun will be located and recovered. This all hinges on having a serial number to enter into the database. Without a serial number, it is very difficult to find and recover a gun based on the description alone.
Another good practice for all valuable items is to have a photograph of the item. This is especially important for things like jewelry, which usually don’t have a serial number. Having pictures or an official appraisal can be the difference between getting jewelry back and never seeing it again.
Some items of jewelry are large enough to create an “owner-applied number.” These owner applied numbers can be engraved into the metal in such a way to allow us to enter the item into the stolen property database. We suggest not using your social security number for this, but your driver’s license number. The last thing you will want is a thief to have your social security number.
Another good idea is to secure important papers and documents in a safety deposit box in your local bank. A fire-safe box is a likely target of a breaking and entering at your home. These boxes are meant to protect items from heat, but are easily opened by thieves. You can also store serial numbers and descriptions at the home of a relative. This way the numbers, pictures and descriptions are in a safe place in the event you need them for a report.
We are fortunate to live in a county with some of the lowest crime rates in the state or country. Iredell County enjoys some of the lowest rates of victimization we have seen in more than 10 years. Of the top 10 counties in North Carolina for population, Iredell had the second fewest number of incidents for indexed offenses in 2018. Index offenses are murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, larceny, burglary and motor vehicle theft. It is always great to have low rates of victimization in your county, but when you combine this with our high rates of case clearance, it’s easy to understand why people want to live in Iredell County.
We attribute these low rates of victimization and high clearance rates to the cooperation we get from citizens in our communities. Without the community to be our eyes and ears we would have a much more difficult time getting cases cleared up. Documenting these items of high-value property is another way the community can help us arrest more criminals. Our job is to find the people who break in to someone else’s home and steal their property.
We work hard at the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office to make sure you are not the victim of any crime. We want you to have the tools you need to help us locate your valuables in the unlikely event it does happen to you. We are always eager to come out and share crime prevention tips with you or your community group. If we can be of service to you, please do not hesitate to let me know how. I can be reached in the office at 704-878-3180 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darren Campbell is the Iredell County Sheriff