KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Killeen police are urging residents to sign up for a web service designed to ensure that when stolen property is recovered, it’s returned to the owners.
This vehicle break-in was caught on camera. (Killeen Police Dept. photo)
Residents can use the ReportIt website to register serial numbers and photos into a private virtual safe, which is paid for through the Killeen Police Department.
Cellphone kiosks, pawnshops and secondhand stores upload the serial numbers of the items they receive into a national database, and if there’s a match to a stolen item, police receive an alert.
You can use a pencil or dollar bill for a size reference, and if it's something that doesn't come with a serial number, you can create your own.
“Get an engraving gun,” said eath Crum of the Killeen Police Burglary Unit.
“Write whatever you want on it. It could be your last name, could be your initials, could be your date of birth, it doesn't matter,” he said.
Even days after a burglary, you can file a report and include information from the website.
Surveillance video is also especially helpful, he said.
“If I can see a face; if I could have any kind of descriptors on it, I try to put it all on social media,” Crum said.
Crum said many of the thieves are looking for guns.
"It's a hot thing; everybody that steals a gun, they want to post it on social media.”
“It's just rampant right now."
Killeen police say they’ve received 223 reports of vehicle break-ins so far this year.
They say the best way not to become a victim is to remove valuable items from your vehicle and to lock the doors.
Several Central Texas police departments are already using the ReportIt website, which allows residents to catalog serial numbers and other identifying information, photos and scans of receipts.