The Scouts of America offer a crime prevention merit badge. The details and workings of Operation Identification has been published for over 40 years in the last two manuals. As you can see by the pictures, Neighborhood Watch and Operation ID are intimately connected.

What exactly is crime prevention?

“Preventing crime, which can be as simple as reducing the opportunities for crime to occur, is far less costly than apprehending and bringing legal action against those who break the law and it helps save people from the anguish of being victims.”

Operation ID is a proven crime-prevention strategy

Police, sheriffs and the FBI went to huge expense and time to thoroughly investigate what is necessary for Operation ID to be effective. There were 378 field trials conducted between 1974 and 1978 at a cost of $100 million in 2018 money before the strategy was launched nationally in 1979.

All three steps must be taken to be called Operation ID.
1) Property must be marked with a universal identifier
2) The make, model and serial numbers must be recorded
3) Warning signs must be posted on doors and windows

Here is the entire text from the Scout handbook

“Operation Identification is a program that involves marking personal property with unique numbers to make identification possible if the items are lost or stolen. This program aids police in identifying your valuables. People who mark their properties have a better chance of getting them back if they are stolen. Operation I.D. also deters burglars by making it more difficult to sell stolen goods and by increasing the burglar’s chances of being arrested.

“Numbers can be engraved onto metal objects or marked with indelible markers on other materials. Some police departments recommend using a driver’s license number. Contact your local police department to find out more about this program. Many police and sheriff’s offices have engraving pens available for you to borrow. Engraving pens also can be purchased in hardware stores. Make a list of all your valuable items, including a description and any serial numbers. It is also recommended that you take a photograph or video of the items. Operation I.D. would be a good community service project for your Scout troop.”

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