Help us help you — that’s the plea from Auburn police as they join 30 other departments urging people to sign up for a new crime prevention tool called TrackMole.
It’s a website that acts as a tracking system to help you get your stolen stuff back.
You probably haven’t thought about writing down the serial numbers of your valuables and if you are one of the few who have, it’s probably scrawled on a piece of paper somewhere. Now, TrackMole makes it easy for cops to contact you as soon as they find your stolen goods.
For home burglary victims, it’s a sickening feeling. Once the shock is over, anger sets in and then you wonder if you’ll ever see your valuables again. That’s where police say TrackMole.com is being used in a growing number of cities including Renton, Kent, Puyallup, Federal Way and Tukwila.
Here’s how it works: It takes about a minute to register an account, then you enter the serial number of things like your laptop or bicycle along with your name and a cell phone number or email. Then, any officer who finds it in the hands of a thief will immediately know it belongs to you.
Auburn Police Commander Jamie Sidell says it’s a quick way to connect officers with the owners of stolen property. “When we run a serial number, that owner will simultaneously get an e-mail or text saying that law enforcement had just ran their item and be able to call them and find out what the deal is, and oftentimes maybe we will be able to get their property back.”
It works even if you haven’t even reported the burglary yet. “What this will be beneficial for is if law enforcement comes across a person during the day we get a call, or a suspicious person stop, has electronics or valuables on them, we will be able to interview that person, see what their story is and then take that serial number and run it through TrackMole.”
As soon as they do, the system sends you an alert. “They can actually call me and say where do you have my computer?”
Most people don’t take the time to write down the serial numbers of their property but that’s how police identify the rightful owners. With a burglary every 15 seconds in the U.S., including 700 million in stolen bicycles last year, TrackMole is a powerful tool to help future victims like Diane Pottinger. “Oh, it was terrible, you didn’t even want to come back home because you know somebody had been in here.”
So, a little time registering your valuables now, could heal a bunch of heartbreak later if somebody breaks in when you aren’t home.
To create your account, click here. You can also use Facebook, Amazon or Google to sign up.