Worried about theft? Registering your valuables can help you get them back


No one wants to have their stuff stolen, but South Bend police say they've been seeing a lot of theft lately.

In June alone officers responded to 226 robberies, burglaries and larcenies.

Police say a lot of theft can be prevented simply by putting your things away and locking them up. That can deter a lot of thieves.

But if they do get their hands on your valuables, you have another tool in your arsenal. It's called "Report It" and police say it could help find the crooks and get your stuff back.

"A guy riding on a bicycle grabbed her purse as she was getting out of her car,” said William Steele, who lives on Donald Street.

Steele's wife was robbed about a year ago. She lost a set of keys to just about everything.

"The vehicles, the house. I had to change the locks. It's not cheap doing that."

The Steels weren't the first victims on Donald Street, and weren't the last. In June alone officers have responded to six burglary calls there.

Paul Erdman recently fixed up his fence and added motion lights.

"There hasn't been broken glass and kicked in windows or anything like that, but if a car door is unlocked or a garage is unlocked, people are going through and shaking handles and doing that kind of stuff, and sort of going through and taking things,” he said.

That's why South Bend police want everyone to sign up for Report It. It's a free app where you can store pictures and serial numbers of your valuables in a handy list.

If your stuff is stolen, you can print it off and give it to police. They'll use it to find the thieves.

"Serial numbers are pretty easy,” said Captain Bontrager with South Bend police. “When the serial number gets entered into the system, if someone tries to sell it a different locations or an officer finds it, they can run it and see that it’s been stolen under a certain case number."

Bontrager says serial numbers are the best identifier, but not everything has one. That's why it's so important to have a lot of pictures. A vague description like “gold colored ring with diamond” doesn't help much.

"When we have multiple cases or multiple property cases out there, that makes it very difficult to actually pinpoint the exact piece of property for that person."

Erdman says he's willing to give Report It a try.

"It's free and now it's even more like, ‘okay, this is a cool thing.' And probably a good thing if it helps get stuff back."

Just like Erdman said, Report It is free to use. Only you have access to the items you report. Click here to download it:

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