A Letter to the Editor

A Letter to the Editor

It’s always nice to get a letter published in my local newspaper, The Des Moines Register. It’s also always of interest to me to see how the letter is titled and what edits are made. Below is my original letter and then the edited version. Background to my...
Matériel: Expanded Definition

Matériel: Expanded Definition

Words matter and avoiding word confusion in day-to-day communications is very important. Are all the things you own—lawn mower, weed whacker, game system, cell phone, laptop, electric drill, circular saw, bicycle and etc.—property, assets or matériel? Do all three...
Crime Prevention

Crime Prevention

It is much, much less expensive—think tax dollars—to prevent a crime than to go to the time and expense of arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating criminals. Being the victim of a crime is also hugely traumatizing and costly—think insurance deductibles and hospital...
Peer Recognition

Peer Recognition

In common parlance, assets are often thought of as money; property is often thought of as real estate. But assets and property have another meaning that has to do with all the stuff large institutions, small businesses and homeowners own. What is...
Scouts of America Support Operation ID

Scouts of America Support Operation ID

The Scouts of America offer a crime prevention merit badge. …and sure enough, on page 22, is an entire section on the importance of Operation Identification. What exactly is crime prevention? “Preventing crime, which can be as simple as reducing the...
The Other Asset Managers

The Other Asset Managers

Most people will assume that “asset managers” means people who oversee a pool of accumulated wealth. But there is a whole other hidden use for the phrase that means the professionals who keep track of the “personal property” that belongs to...
Proving Ownership

Proving Ownership

Whenever I do a presentation or make small talk with people about MyPropertyID, it is inevitable that I’ll hear a story about a theft or loss of personal property. In many instances, the owner can point to a piece of property and swear it belongs to them, but...
Reducing Gateway Crimes

Reducing Gateway Crimes

Imagine if citizens said, “I don’t need smoke detectors. I don’t really care if a part of my house burns down. I’ll just turn it into insurance.” Yet that’s exactly the attitude we have when it comes to burglary and theft. Why do millions of us...
Uniting Citizens and the Police

Uniting Citizens and the Police

Burglary is a gateway crime committed mostly by teens and young adults. It’s a category of crime like an oil slick—spread thin across the nation. There are millions of property crimes reported each year, but the number is thought to be double that. Sadly, only 10% of...
Five Old-Fashioned Ways to Help Police

Five Old-Fashioned Ways to Help Police

Very few of us are trained to run toward danger. Law enforcement professionals are trained to do exactly that. The rest of us are taught to run for safety or shelter in place. There are five, non-heroic ways to help police lower crime rates. They are low-cost,...