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Chief’s Message: Property Crime Prevention


April 1, 2013 — A new “Chief’s Message” video posted online today features a conversation between Chief Chris Burbank and Det. Robert Ungricht about property crimes and tips to secure one’s property.

In 2012, the Salt Lake City Police Department handled approximately 1,800 residential or business burglaries, also known as property crimes. With a recent reshuffling of personnel, the department has increased the number of property crimes investigators from seven to 10, as well as assigned another detective each to focus solely on retail theft and the recovery of stolen property through the Department’s pawnshop detail.

Property crimes are frustrating for both victims and investigators alike. But once the damage is done, it is the preventative steps taken that help investigators solve a case. “In all honesty, a lot of cases we have to tell these victims that we can’t do anything without a serial number,” said Ungricht, who explained how stolen property may be tracked if it turns up in a pawnshop. “That is the way these items are entered into the pawnshops is via a serial number. If an item comes in without a serial number, it’s virtually impossible to track it down. So that’s why we would encourage the public to go out, take an inventory sheet, go through their homes, write down all their valuables, take pictures of them, and write down those serial numbers, so that they have those in place in the event they are victimized via a burglary or some kind of a theft.”

Chief Burbank also recommended the public take pictures of valuables that don’t have serial numbers, including jewelry and works of art. “A picture of what that unique piece is really goes a long way in helping us recover it,” he noted.

To decrease the risk of becoming a victim of property crime, Burbank and Ungricht also spend time in the video talking about best practices to prevent property crime from happening in the first place. For instance, close and lock garage doors, trim back foliage around windows, join Neighborhood Watch, and do not post vacation plans on social media.

“Please don’t put out on your Facebook page that you and your family are going to be in Jamaica for two weeks or traveling the world,” Ungricht said, “please keep those things to yourself because that’s the perfect opportunity for somebody to see that you’re not going to be around and you’re a prime target right at that point in time.”

About the “Chief’s Message”

Chief Burbank issues a monthly video message to help the public reduce its exposure to, or mitigate the effects of, crime. All “Chief’s Messages” are archived on the newsroom page of www.slcpd.com and the “Chief’s Message” playlist of www.youtube.com/saltlakecitypolice.

Contact: Reporters seeking comment should contact the Public Information Officer at 801.799.NEWS (6397).

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