In 2005, in the aftermath of 9-11, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, in collaboration with the National Sheriffs’ Association, released a revised instruction manual for Operation Identification (Operation ID) and its companion, Neighborhood Watch. Even in the age of the internet and high-tech security systems, these two strategies continue to be seen as vital tools for crime prevention. | National Neighborhood Watch (

Operation Identification Manual

The National Neighborhood Watch Program, which is part of the National Sherriff’s Assocation has been supporting Operation ID, beginning in the 1970s.
Operation Identification | Neighborhood Watch Signs – National Neighborhood Watch Institute (NNWI)

As a more recent reminder of this, a new manual was released in 2005, with a large component dedicated to Operation ID, entitled, “Neighborhood Watch Manual: USAonWatch – National Neighborhood Watch Program.”
NSA_NW_Manual.pdf (

Page 7 of the Manual

Neighborhood Watch block captains are recommended for every 10-15 houses, and they should be directly involved with their immediate neighbors. The block captain’s responsibilities may include:
• Establishing an “Operation Identification” program.

The Neighborhood Watch coordinator’s job is crucial to the success of your program. […] This person’s responsibilities may include:
• Encouraging participation in “Operation Identification,” a nationwide program in which personal property is marked legibly with a unique identifying number to permit positive identification if valuables are lost or stolen.

Page 31 of the Manual

Operation ID is a program where property is marked or engraved with a special number. This is called an owner-applied number (OAN) and it can be used to report stolen items. Operation ID has shown dramatic results in reducing burglaries and theft. Burglars usually avoid marked items because they are hard to re-sell.

Operation Identification Training Module

Operation ID is not rocket science, but it has been mostly forgotten. At My Property ID Registry, we have created a training module for law enforcement professionals as a very short refresher course on the topic.
Operation ID Training Module – My Property ID Registry

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