Operation Identification is a theft-prevention program that involves marking your property with an identifying number. This discourages theft and helps in tracing stolen and recovered property to the rightful owner.

Public Safety recommends that students mark their property with the two-letter abbreviation of their home state, followed by their driver’s license number. Students may stop at Public Safety (room 11 Marquis Hall) and sign out an electric engraver, free of charge, to mark valuables.

Anything a thief could carry away—cameras, stereos, VCRs, calculators, radios, TVs, computers, bicycles, and the like—should be marked. The student needs to make a written inventory of all the items and include their make, model, serial number, identification number (if any), date of purchase, and price. This should be kept in a safe place, in order to help security and one’s insurance company handle the claim of a burglary.

Some valuables—certain jewelry, clothing, etc.—may be damaged by engraving. They should be photographed in color or videotaped. An indelible marking pen is another option in this situation. For small items, include a ruler in the picture for scale.

Remember, Operation Identification takes only a small amount of time and effort but can be a big help in discouraging a thief.