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Home News-Telegram News Once limited to law enforcement, online database of lost, stolen, recovered property now available to the public

Once limited to law enforcement, online database of lost, stolen, recovered property now available to the public

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Local law enforcement officials this week were excited to announce an unprecedented partnership which will make available to the general public an online research and storage database.

Trace.com is partnering with the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, a computerized index of criminal justice information which previously was only accessible to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies for official business use. The partnership will make available  free online to the general public an international database of stolen, lost, seized and recovered property.

NCIC agreed to the partnership only on three conditions: it be offered totally free to the public; no personal identifying information such as a person’s driver’s license and Social Security numbers may be collected by the website; and the information that is collected (the person’s name, address, a phone number and an e-mail address) may not be sold to any third party or used for a mailing list.

The NCIC agreed to make available information from their database of lost and stolen items to nonprofit Trace.com. In order to be in the database, the items must first have been reported to law enforcement as missing or stolen. The police or law enforcement identification number  is used to enter the stolen items in the database. It can be shared from law enforcement through NCIC or entered by the victim as soon they have a police ID number.

The database will allow registered users to search through the database to see if property is stolen. This can be especially helpful in instances when buying pre-owned items from individuals or businesses.

“As an example, if you want to buy a Nintendo that’s for sale on say eBay, once you have the serial number you can run it through trace.com to see if it’s been entered as stolen through NCIC. If you buy it on eBay or an auction station and can run the serial number, it’ll let you know if it has been listed as stolen,” Robert Stidham,  Sulphur Springs’ assistant police chief.

The database can save a bit of time and monetary loss in the long run, said Rex Morgan, Hopkins County Sheriff’s Posse member and crime prevention  specialist.

Stidham and Morgan explained that this can prevent inadvertent loss of money and items. If you unintentionally purchase an item that’s been reported stolen, and it’s discovered in your possession, the item is recovered and the person is out the money they paid for it and without the item they sought.

Also, registered users through Trace.com’s partnership with MyThings.com can create an inventory of their possessions online, saving information such as receipts, photos and descriptions as well as those all important serial numbers needed when filing police and insurance reports for missing items. These items are printable by the registered user, but not accessible to the general public. In the event an item were stolen or lost, it could save time having the information at your fingertips rather than searching throughout the home or office for them, Stidham noted.

Stidham said that the website is “credible” and could be a useful tool for the general public, including businesses that sell used goods, and encourages those who would benefit from it to utilize the free service.

Ideally, trace.com will help reduce accidental resale of stolen  or lost property. “Beyond that, Trace works with local police departments to find thieves and return possessions to their rightful owners,” the website boasts.

More comprehensive information about the database, its benefits and services, can be found online at Trace.com.

 

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