Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVIII, No. 580 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY June 30, 2002

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: An offer too good to refuse; goodbye to an NYPD pioneer; Capitol gain for Gainer; when policing is in the blood; now you seem them, now you don’t.
Million-dollar boner: Boston PD assessment plan lands on the scrap heap.
Having their say: Denver adds civilians to its disciplinary review board.
Stop or I’ll sue: Beanbag-related injuries are focus of a lawsuit — filed by police.
Backing down: DoJ aborts plan to have locals enforce immigration laws.
Liar, liar: It’s not what you say, but how.
First step: Better police response to mentally ill starts with dispatchers.
A smaller pie: Some Mass. agencies find there’s less community policing money to go around.
The bus stops here: Court gives wider berth to searching bus passengers.
Aggressive, or abusive: San Antonio chief wants answers on use-of-force disparities.
Deadly aim: Closer look due for Boston police shootings.
Ready to go: Last piece of the puzzle is in place for Seattle oversight system.
The grades are in: LAPD monitors hand out mixed reviews.
Once a thief... BJS study looks at recidivism.
Forum: Tackling a (literally) heavy crime problem.
Decisions, decisions: Court rulings from around the country.

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New resources to fight a heavy problem

     Remote work sites with inadequate security allow thieves in the United States to steal an estimated $1 billion of heavy equipment annually. This includes machines commonly used in construction, highway maintenance, farming, agriculture and forestry. With theft reports to insurance companies having increased by as much as 20 percent each year since 1996, and with 53 percent of all insurance claims involving heavy equipment thefts, this is a problem that must be overcome.

      Heavy-equipment theft investigations are complex and often frustrating for officers due to non-standard numbering systems, the absence or inaccuracy of theft reports and the absence of a source of ownership data for heavy equipment. The complex nature of identifying heavy equipment and little or no checks in the used equipment market has lead to as little as 10 percent of this equipment being recovered. To identify a piece of heavy equipment requires a level of expertise which increases with the type of equipment in question and the degree of sophistication of the thief. Even equipment that has not been “disguised” or “re-tagged” may have the PIN or serial number in any number of places, some harder to find than others. Other identifying numbers and plates are associated with parts and attachments, further confusing the identification procedure for the untrained investigator. Officers know this from experience and are often, understandably, reluctant to get involved in equipment investigations...