Atheist Scruples: Police! Police!

Today’s question:

Arriving home late, you see a flashlight in your house and call police. They take an hour to arrive and the thieves escape with your valuables. Do you complain to the civic authorities?

In the heat of the moment, I’d probably be totally pissed and want to, yeah, but I can’t imagine it would make much difference in terms of me getting my stuff back.

One thing to do would be to remain outside the house, let them do whatever print work they want to try in terms finding a match in case there are other houses that have been hit by the same person/group.

Preemptively, it’s worthwhile to have a stored record of serials numbers and photos of the stuff you own, stored somewhere online (or in a safety deposit box if you’re behind the times) so you can provide police with proof of ownership in case any of your stuff gets found again, and also in terms of putting together reports for insurance purposes. The Surrey RCMP offer up this advice and suggest engraving of marking your stuff with something like your driver’s license number or something else specific to your life.

Surrey RCMP’s exhibits area recorded over 1,800 cases of found property. As an example, over 20% of those cases involved recovered bicycles and less than half of those were returned to the original owners because there was no way to track them down. More recently, twelve bikes were brought into exhibits in one day and none had been reported stolen.

“We’ve recovered family heirlooms, diamond rings, unique artwork, you name it,” says Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet. “Our officers and support staff work very hard to try and reunite owners with their property, however it can be very difficult when there’s little to no documentation, or when people don’t report stolen property.”

“There is also a common misconception that it’s not worth it to report something stolen,” says Cpl. Paquet. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Reporting crime matters. When you report a theft, you are making us aware of stolen property and of crime that is happening in your community.”

Slightly related, I remember my days at Walmart dealing with folks who came in with their lists of stolen items they were trying to get replacements for. It wasn’t always possible to find the exact video game or piece of equipment they’d lost, unfortunately, but I’d do what I could and I always felt kind of bad for them.

Knocking on proverbial wood now because I’ve been very fortunate…

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Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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