Registry to help stop theft

No items registered with the police initiative SNAP have been stolen in Timaru.

Beating burglary and stopping the trade in stolen property was the reason behind operation Serial Number Action Partnership (SNAP), an online registry that allows users to record their goods with the aid of the serial numbers or other identifying details.

It was started by Constable Michael Donaldson, of Timaru police, with the aid of Hamilton police.

Timaru has the ninth-highest rate of registration nationwide.

"The more people who know about this free site and make use of it, the better the chances are of returning property to any victim of a crime [if registered] and therefore the better chance there is of bringing an offender to justice," Donaldson said.

Once registered, individuals have access numbers which no one else has access to.

Stolen items get recorded into the National Intelligence Application and the registry helps in tracking them down.

"This helps in an incident when we execute a search warrant and come across the stolen items. If they are registered, they can be returned to the rightful owners.

"Previously, we would come across stolen items that we knew were stolen but we could not prove it and they would stay with the people who stole them."

Donaldson said items that were stolen needed to be disposed of fairly quickly and this factor needed to be kept in mind to encourage registration.

"We use an acronym CRAVED, which stands for concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable and disposable. This refers to items that can be changed for quick cash, like phones, laptops, iPads and iPods, jewellery and others."

Donaldson said that in 2012, there were 32,532 reported burglaries nationwide, or 108 a day. He believes a rise in awareness of the SNAP operation will make a difference to that number.

"In Hamilton, big retailers like Harvey Norman and Noel Leeming are telling customers about SNAP. We are hoping to do something similar here as well."

To register items, register for a unique igovt login and visit the SNAP website, go to

The Timaru Herald