Go ahead, turn that university monitor around —
Large universities in the United States are vast institutions with thousands and thousands of individual assets. Turn a computer monitor around in a university computer lab and you’ll see an asset tag with a number and the university’s name. That asset tag is a warning to burglars. Burglars understand the symbolism of that ID tag. Members of the general public do not. This little-known strategy and billion dollar business segment has a name: Enterprise Asset Management.
It’s not the asset tags, it’s what’s on the database
University computer labs are often unattended and open to students 24/7. The reason computer labs don’t get ripped off is not because of cameras, alarms or security patrols. It’s because every asset tag applied to the back of a computer is listed on a database where the make, model and serial number of that item is recorded on a secure, centralized computer server.
“So what?” you say
Burglars know something citizens are mostly unaware of. When a property crime is committed on a university campus or any other large institution, the make model and serial numbers of the stolen items will be given to law enforcement professionals and attached to a police report. This is a proven deterrent which prevents crime in the first place and dramatically improves the odds of recovery if a theft does occur.
National Crime Information Center
The secret is that serial numbers are entered into the FBI’s global databases at the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). This simple act pulls the carpet out from under most criminal operations. Every legitimate pawn shop and all other resellers are obligated to check the NCIC otherwise they will take receipt of stolen property which is a crime. Not only that, but given the chance, many pawn shops and resellers will turn the criminals in.
Why the cops shrug their shoulders
Burglars know that when they rip off apartments, homes or small businesses, the chances are extremely slim that the owners have any belongings tagged and titled on a secure database. Not only that, but burglars know that security cameras and alarms rarely lead to an actual conviction. If citizens were to begin posting warning signs, tagging property and recording the make, model and serial numbers on a secure database, property crime rates would come down.