Crime Prevention Tips From Eugene Police: Property Marking

by Harlow Meno, Substation Manager, Eugene Police Crime Prevention

This month’s crime prevention tip is: MARK YOUR PROPERTY and DOCUMENT SERIAL NUMBERS! This often makes all the difference if we recover your stolen property–if you keep track of serial numbers we can usually get that property back to you. If you don’t, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see it again.

To give you a sense of the scope of the problem, the Property Control Unit of the Eugene Police Department (EPD) sells hundreds of cases of unclaimed belongings at public auction annually. As many as 80% of the hundreds of bicycles  EPD recovers each year end up going to auction because we cannot determine their legal owners.


  • Write down or otherwise document your serial numbers for all your electronic belongings. They usually have S/N or ser., followed by a number, such as S/N1234567. (For more details and a form to help organize your information, check out information under “property inventory” at )
  • Engrave your Oregon driver’s license number on anything you’re willing to mark. (Some items, like antiques or jewelry, may be inappropriate to mark.) The format to use is OR___DL, with the number sandwiched tightly in-between those letters. You can also use an Oregon ID number, which the Department of Motor Vehicles can issue instead of a Driver’s license, for people who don’t drive. In that case the format would be OR_____ID.
  • Take digital pictures of all your valuables. This helps in a number of ways: it makes it far easier for you to remember what you own and determine what’s missing; it makes it far easier to give police useful information; and it makes the process of working with your insurance company much smoother. Put those pictures on a jump drive or secure website for later retrieval if needed.
  • If all that marking and documenting seems overwhelming, consider contacting EPD for our FREE assistance with this. Our team of carefully vetted senior volunteers will come to your home and do the work for you! To arrange this, contact Debbie Janecek at 541-682-2746.
  • A further step you can take with laptops and many other electronic items is to download tracking capability or turn on built-in features. Some examples of downloadable sources would include, or If you report items as stolen the tracking feature can pinpoint their location as soon as they connect to the internet. If they have built in webcams, they can even photograph anyone in view!

If you’d like more details on property marking or any other crime prevention topic, visit our website, or call us at 541-682-5137.