With Christmas just behind us, many kids and even adults are enjoying new bicycles received as Christmas presents. Brownfield Police Chief Tony Serbantez urges everyone with new bikes to take a good picture of the bike and get a serial number from it. “I would also suggest that they find a way to mark it in a manner that only they will know. Just anything to give us a little more to go on, should that bicycle be stolen,” stated Serbantez.
Each year, across America, over 800,000 bicycles are stolen each year. Of that number, on the average, only 5% are returned to their owners. This is exactly why Serbantez is urging owners to document their property in every way they can. Keep the receipt for the bicycle, if possible. Store these receipts with the pictures of your property and the serial numbers.
Serbantez also stated, “People should keep their bicycles safely locked up or in a fenced yard when possible. It just makes sense that you should make it hard for thieves to steal the bicycles in the first place. But, you should also be sure you have all your information in place, because thieves will always find a way.”
Chief Serbantez also said that there have been times when a person is out walking, sees a bicycle lying in the front yard and just grabs it and hops on. Then that person will just leave the bike in another yard when he gets to his destination. “Always report missing bikes. We will have people call and say they found one in their yard, and then we have no idea from where it came.”
Bicycles aren’t the only problem, however. Serbantez stated, “Cameras, computers, virtually any electronic has the potential to end up being stolen property. The same rules apply. Take pictures, record serial numbers and find a way to make your property.”
The police do recover lots of stolen property each year, but the thieves will often make changes to the property, such as changing a seat on a bicycle or changing out tires. “We have lots of recovered property, but people come in to look and think that it is not theirs because of the changes made. That is why markings and pictures are so important,” stated Serbantez.
If you have property that has been stolen, report it to the police as soon as possible. The sooner the report is made, the better chance the police have of recovering your property before too many changes are made and while the property is still in the area.
Serbantez also urges farmers to do the same things with their farm equipment. “Take pictures, mark it, record numbers on all your equipment, from farm implements to tractors and trailers, the more information we have, the more likely a recovery and return will be.”
For more information on marking your property, contact the Brownfield Police Department at 637-2511.