Barnland Security - 10 Steps to Keep Your Tack at Home
We make it easier for a criminal to commit a crime if we don't secure our facility and don't ID our belongings.
A topic that years ago was basically unheard of in the horse world has come to the forefront again recently - in New York State and New England, there have been a number of major thefts of tack and equipment. Some of these crimes may still be undergoing investigation by law enforcement agencies of the respective jurisdictions.
With the everyday hustle and bustle of our lives, seldom do we think about the security of the investment we have made in our horse equipment and tack. We tend to think of the security of our homes, cars, and personal belongings, yet overlook the hard earned dollars we have invested in tack and equipment.
As a professional law enforcement officer and retired mounted police officer, I have investigated thefts of personal property and found most times people have not taken the steps to be able to properly identify their belongings. Proper identification can make a difference in the police agencies' ability to record and disseminate a list of stolen property to other police agencies, to aide in the recovery of items. In fact, very few people have taken the time to list or inventory, let alone record or inscribe identification data on their belongings. Failure to perform such a process makes any investigation more challenging for the authorities, makes the transportation and transfer of stolen property easy, and even heightens our risk of becoming a victim to such crime.
Preparing for inventory is easier when most of the belongings are already in one place.
So what can we do to become proactive in the prevention of a crime, and to reduce our chances of becoming a statistic and victim of property theft? First, know that a criminal would be more comfortable dealing with merchandise that is less likely to be traced or identified. Therefore, we must ID our belongings. If we take the little time it takes, we help insure the security of our 'horse assets', and our own safety.
To create an “Inventory and Identity System” for all your property and equipment:
1) It may be easiest to bring all of your tack and horse equipment into a common area for inventory. (This also is a great time to inspect and check your equipment to see if any is in need of repair or replacement.) While you have your equipment spread out, you can clean, identify, and inventory all at the same time.
2) List each item. Include the make, model, serial number, color, and description of the article and the purchase value of the item
3) Those items that do not have an individual security number or serial number will need to have one assigned to it. Create your own system: it could consist of six digits representing the month/day/year of your birth (xx-xx-xx), or your first initial preceding the month and day of birth (X-XX-XX), or the first initial of your last name and the last four digits of your social security number (X-XXXX). Use any combination that makes your identification system unique and proves the item belongs to you. Such identification should be placed on the item in an inconspicuous area with a permanent marking device such as a laundry marker, or on metal surfaces using an electric engraving device. Note on your inventory list where on the item you placed the identifying number.
4) Make a video of the equipment, or make a still photo library of each piece of equipment that has significant value.
5) Once completed, this listing should be kept in a secure place where only you have access to it. In the event you do become the victim of theft, this list can be easily accessed to aid the police in finding and returning the merchandise to you.
6) When ever you make new purchases, take the time to photograph each item and record its purchase date and value. Remove discarded items from the list. Always keep your list up-to-date.
7) Perform annual inspections to insure all markings are legible, and make adjustments as needed.
8) If you sell items of used equipment, be sure to include your identifying information on the bill of sale as you would a vehicle identification number (VIN) on the sale of a vehicle. This will allow the new owner to affix their own markings while still having a documented audit trail and proof of purchase to prove ownership of the article.
9) If you want to purchase an item of used equipment, inspect the item for any permanent identification markings. If it has any (and especially if any of them appear to have been altered), contact your local law enforcement agency and request they perform a stolen article check before you complete the transaction. If time or other factors do not allow for you to do so, insure that the business you are purchasing the article from is legitimate, and has provided you with proper documentation of the transaction. If it is an individual you are purchasing from, be sure you are dealing with who they say they are. They should have no reservations about making their identity known and furnishing you with their name, address, phone number, and a bona fide form of identification. If the person seems to be leery of wanting to share that kind of information for the sale/purchase and you get an uncomfortable feeling, it might be in your best interest to delay the transaction and research the individual before finalizing the transaction. Don’t you become a victim to this type of crime by purchasing stolen property.
10) Periodically review with your insurance agent that the dollar value of your inventory is adequately insured, and that in the event you become a victim of loss through theft or any other means, you would be covered for its replacement.
If you are a boarder, pass the word to other boarders to ensure that their equipment is adequately marked. Assist the owner of the facility to implement a system of security for tack, tools, and equipment, and to install security lighting. When criminals are looking to commit a crime, they always prefer targets that have little or no security in place, that enable them to commit a crime hastily, and that have items that can be disposed of quickly and with no trace.
There is no substitute for good common sense practices when it comes to the security of our property and belongings. It is human nature to think that "this will never happen to me", but if it does, you will be glad you took the time to properly identify your horse assets and other belongings. It will aid your police in the investigation, and increase chances of recovery of the items.
Remember that old cliché about 'closing the barn door before the horse is out' - it’s too late once he's gone. Be proactive rather than reactive, and always report suspicious vehicles, persons, and their actions to the owner/s of facilities, and to the police.
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Natural Horse-Man Services
Natural Horse-Man Services
Suite 5-A Meyer Rd.
Clifton Park , New York 12065-2416
Phone/Fax: (518) 348-0119