The federal government doesn’t mandate that trained and certified asset managers tag and title a trillion dollars worth of its property for kicks and giggles. That’s because, among other reasons, it’s a proven crime-prevention strategy consisting of two seemingly simple steps.

The hidden power of tagging and titling property

The two simple steps are as follows.

First, tag the property with a difficult to remove asset tag that is marked with a globally unique identification number (UIN), akin to a license plate on a car that is registered in your name.

Second, record the serial number on a private database, akin to the way the authorities record your vehicle identification number (VIN) of your car on a centralized database.

This is the reason that 60% of stolen cars are recovered and hardly any other property with serial numbers ever is. People rarely record serial numbers voluntarily, and even fewer use the three-part strategy developed by law enforcement professionals known as Operation Identification.

Operation ID:
1). Mark property with a unique identification number
2). Record the serial numbers on a private database
3). post warning signs on doors and windows

Go ahead! Steal a piece of government property and just remove the asset tag, or steal a car and remove the license plate. See what happens. If the FBI or local law enforcement comes knocking on your door with a search warrant, you’ll be arrested for possession of stolen property. Why? Because the rightful owner provided the police with a copy of the stolen item’s underlying serial number.

Take the profit out of burglary

The reason government organizations record serial numbers and tag property with an asset tag is that it takes the profit out of burglary and theft. Having a record of serial numbers to provide to law enforcement is a valuable crime-fighting tool. It’s a proven way to prosecute offenders, like a bank robber being caught with marked money.

That’s why most criminals avoid marked property owned by large institutions and focus on stealing unmarked property from places they know most people keep no record of serial numbers: cars, dorms, apartments, homes and small businesses.