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Operation identification

Updated January 20, 2011

Operation identification, or Operation I.D., is a citizen's burglary prevention/property identification program for use in homes and businesses. Operation I.D. involves the marking of property with an identifying number as a means of discouraging burglary and theft. This number also helps law enforcement agencies identify your property should it be lost or stolen.

What identification number should I use?

  • Mark your valuables by inscribing your driver's license number and state identifier (CA for California). If you do not drive, mark your valuables by engraving your California identification card number, which can be obtained from the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

What property should I engrave?

  • All items that might be attractive to a thief, such as radios, televisions, camera equipment, stereos, small appliances, tools and sports equipment should be marked.
  • Small or very valuable items such as jewelry or antiques can either be engraved by a jeweler or photographed for identification purposes.

Where do I get an engraver?

  • Engravers can be borrowed from the Cerritos Sheriff's Station/Community Safety Center located at 18135 Bloomfield Avenue in the Cerritos Civic Center. You can also purchase an engraver at hardware, department and variety stores. They are relatively inexpensive.

How do I use the engraver?

  • When using the engraver, hold the tool straight up and down.
  • The engraving tool can be adjusted for surface differences.
  • Practice using the engraving tool before you mark your property.

Where should I make the engraving?

  • One of Operation I.D.'s objectives is to warn burglars away. Do not try to hide the fact that an item has been engraved. Mark items as conspicuously as possible without defacing them. Make sure it is permanently affixed to the item and not on removable parts. For further protection, engrave some items a second time in a more obscure spot.

How do I keep an inventory of the engraved items?

  • Make a list of the engraved items, including the make, model, size, color and serial number as applicable. Record the exact spots where you have engraved the items. Also, keep a list of serial numbers of items you do not engrave, such as guns, antiques, etc.
  • You should keep this record at home for reference and additions. Also keep a copy in a secure place such as a safe deposit box. DO NOT keep your inventory list where burglars can find it.

How do I obtain and display my Operation I.D. sticker?

  • After marking your property, you should display an Operation I.D. sticker near every entrance to your home. The stickers can be obtained from the Cerritos Sheriff's Station/Community Safety Center, located in the Cerritos Civic Center.

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