Students, faculty and staff at The University of Texas-Pan American can register their laptops, ipods, cell phones and other high-priced items for free with one of the largest global online database for lost, stolen and seized property - Trace.com.
James Loya, assistant chief of police, said the UTPA Police Department was invited to participate in the pilot program by the Texas Police Chiefs Association and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The goal of the Trace.com database is to assist law enforcement on improving their chances of catching criminals, recovering stolen goods, and preventing the sale of stolen property, and providing Texas property files freely online.
"UTPA chose to participate because the program increases the chances of property being recovered. It's also an added investigative tool for law enforcement," Loya said.
Any information the UTPA Police Department inputs into the Texas Crime Information Center (TCIC) and National Crime Information Center (NCIC) will get uploaded into the Trace.com database, and can be accessed by the public.
"The community as a whole will benefit from the program. The more avenues available to reduce thefts or to assist in the recovery of stolen property is always beneficial," he said.
Individuals can log in their high-priced items at Trace.com and access them should they ever become a victim of property crime. The information will be made available to law enforcement agencies across the state.
Loya said he is encouraging the UTPA community to take advantage of this free program to keep their valuables safe and accounted for. His best advice for students, faculty and staff during the school year is to never leave their property unattended for any amount of time.
"Keep personal belongings close and keep record of expensive items. Note their make, model and serial number because this will aid the police in recovering the property, and report the thefts to law enforcement. This will help police develop patterns and assist them in combating thefts. It will also help determine where added police presence may be needed," Loya said.
To learn more about the free program visit the Web site at http://www.trace.com/ or contact the UTPA Police Department at 956/381-2625.