Operation Identification makes mark in burglary spree

Dayton officers say program deters crime, speeds up return of stolen goods.

After a rash of break-ins on Dayton’s east side, police are rolling out a pilot program meant to deter thefts and make it easier to return stolen goods to their rightful owners.

Operation Identification is a burglary prevention program that can be used by homeowners and businesses alike to mark valuables and discourage thieves from breaking in. It was launched in the city’s Patterson Park neighborhood by Dayton police’s east patrol Community Problem Response Team.

Neighbors registered with the program and received an ultra violet marker to mark items. People are encouraged to write their driver’s license and phone number on the items, information that can’t be used to steal a person’s identity but can be helpful in determining who items belong to. The UV marker dries in minutes, making the markings undetectable except by officers armed with a UV flashlight.

If police see the marked items in someone else’s possession or at a pawn shop, they’ll be able to determine they were stolen and return them, said Sgt. Matt Beavers.

Officers also passed out Operation Identification stickers for homeowners to display on a door or window. The decal alerts would-be thieves that items in the home are marked and registered with Dayton police and can quickly be identified as stolen if taken.

“If we can get the majority of the neighborhood to participate in the program and show this is a neighborhood participating in the program, then hopefully that will slow down crime in that neighborhood — and then we can get this implemented throughout every neighborhood in the city,” Beavers said.

Participants are still encouraged to keep an inventory of their marked valuables, writing down the name of the item and the serial number, and keeping it in a safe place to also aid officers in identifying and recovering stolen goods, police said.

Police recovered more than $50,000 in stolen goods in April. Much of it was taken from homes and garages on Dayton’s east side. With so many thefts occurring nearby, Mary Dickensheets said the new program brings her peace of mind should she find herself a victim.

“I’d feel more comfortable if somebody did get in that some of my valuables could be traced,” she said.

Other neighborhoods will be added to the program as police receive more supplies. For more information on Operation Identification, contact Officer Colin Patterson at (937) 333-7430 or Officer Joseph Grieshop at (937) 333-2387.

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