Richmond County residents now have a Web-based way to register belongings with police, and it’s already proven successful in the return of stolen property.
The ReportIt program is free to residents in jurisdictions that pay for it. The cost of the program to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has not been disclosed.
ReportIt is part of LeadsOnline, an online system that works with police to track and recover stolen property.
The sheriff’s office has been using the program about three weeks, but it has helped investigators recover several items, including an Apple iPad and a Taurus pistol.
Residents can register through ReportIt and list up to 100 items, including jewelry, guns, electronics, collectables, machinery, lawn equipment, and even designer clothes and purses. Make, model, serial number, purchase receipts and photos can be uploaded and stored in the database.
According to the ReportIt Web site, police cannot obtain the information without the user’s permission. Information can be obtained only with a login and password. Items will still have to be reported stolen, and users can print an inventory of missing property.
The LeadsOnline system allows police to search for stolen goods a variety of ways, including by description and serial number. When an item is sold to a pawnshop, the product information is entered into the LeadsOnline database and is immediately viewable to participating law enforcement agencies.
Lt. Lewis Blanchard said in most cases victims don’t immediately know what is missing, and if they do, they usually give only a vague description. Thorough descriptions are key to having property returned.
“We have stuff all the time that gets found and we don’t know who it belongs to,” he said.
After Operation Smoke Screen – a seven-month burglary sting that led to more than 100 arrests in 2012 – investigators found themselves sorting through hundreds of stolen items and trying to match them to reports that gave basic information.
Police hope the program will increase the number of arrests and serve as a deterrent to criminals.
“One of our goals is to reduce property crimes within our area and this will help us to achieve our goal through better apprehension of criminals,” Sheriff Richard Roundtree said in a news release.
To register an item, go to reportit.leadsonline.com.