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Insight from the West Fargo PD: Time to take inventory, tips for doing it correctly

By Mike Reitan, assistant chief, WFPD

As we are only a week away from 2014, now is a good time to take an inventory. Look around to see what has changed in your life, in your business and around your home. We all acquire something new, hang onto some of what we already have, and reluctantly let go of some of the old. If you had to describe all you currently have, could you?

Following the holiday season, our home or office typically has one or more high dollar items that are new. Taking time to record the make, model and serial number of an item can assist in recovery of the item if it is stolen. Likewise, the information is required for warranty work or may be requested by your insurance company if you need to file a loss claim. If the item does not have a serial number, photographing the item and making special note of any unusual characteristic can be of assistance in recovery.

It is recommended that you be consistent in recording the information. Make a record as something new is purchased or received. At least once a year do an inventory of your home or office. Record make, model, serial number and any owner applied number or marking. Owner applied numbers may be something unique that you choose or may be a number assigned to you through a crime prevention program sponsored by law enforcement or your insurance company. As you photograph valuables, include a ruler in the picture as a reference. Remember to remove items from your list as you dispose of them to avoid confusion.

Your record can be made to a notebook, a commercial product designed for making an inventory or through a computer program. Make a second copy of your record and store it at a secure location away from where the items are located. Losing your home or office should not include losing your only copy of the record.

Being consistent with your inventory also allows you the opportunity to de-clutter on a regular basis. Take time to evaluate the items you no longer use. Are they some things that could be put to use through a donation to a church or other non-profit? Local church and charity groups are seeking items to place in thrift stores or to make direct donations to those in need. Your gift may also allow you a tax deduction when filing your income tax.