Operation Identification

What is Operation Identification?

Operation Identification is a citizen’s burglary prevention program for use in homes and businesses. The Operation ID program involves marking property with an identifying number as a means of discouraging burglary and theft.  It also provides police with a way to identify property should it be stolen and recovered.  In communities where it has been properly implemented, Operation ID has shown dramatic results in burglary reduction.

What Makes Operation Identification so Effective?

Marked property is difficult for a burglar to dispose of, and it can be traced to the rightful owner. If a burglar possesses marked stolen property, it is solid evidence for prosecution of possession of stolen goods.

After marking your property, make a list of your valuables, and keep a copy of the list in a safe place like a safety deposit box, on a computer, or on a flash drive. If you should become a burglary victim, you will be able to quickly provide the stolen property inventory with the identifiers.  This will greatly assist the police in recovering your stolen property.

Once your property has been marked and a list made, display the Operation Identification sticker on doors and windows that could be used to force entry.  By advertising your participation in Operation Identification, you are announcing that your valuable property has been marked and will be difficult for a burglar to sell.

Operation ID has Two Basic Components.


Engrave your valuables with your driver's license number so your property can be easily traced and identified as yours.  Please note - If your driver's license is your social security number, we strongly recommend you
 a) Do not use your social security number
 b) Obtain a SC Identification Card from the DMV, which has a generic number and does not expire

Engrave your property as follows: SC/123456789 (example only)
Engrave in two location 

        1) One location easily seen 

        2) One location not easily seen or hidden

Photograph all your property, and keep photos on a computer or flash drive for future reference.  Jewelry should photographed with an ID card and ruler to show size.


Display the Operation Identification sticker in your home or business door and windows showing the potential burglars your property is marked.  Often, this will deter a burglar from your home/business.

Electric engravers can be purchased at a local hardware stores, or can be borrowed at your closest HCPD precinct.

Mark These Possessions
These items listed below are the most commonly stolen items from homes, businesses, and vehicles.
Laptop Computers
Digital Cameras
Lawn Mowers and landscaping equipment
Car audio equipment
Camcorder or video recording devices
DVD / Blue Ray Players
Golf clubs and equipment
Guitars and musical equipment
Stereo Equipment
Cellular Phones
Tools (power and hand)
Household Appliances (Refrigerator, Washer, Dryer, Stove, Microwave)
Fishing Rods, reels, and equipment

Anything else you feel is valuable should be marked, photographed, and logged on the inventory sheet.

Personal Property Inventory sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I fill out my Home Inventory form?

Most valuable items have a make, model and serial number. The make is the brand name; the model is the type (often a combination of numbers and letters); and the serial number identifies your specific item.

For example, you might have a Gateway laptop computer. The make is "Gateway." The model might be a name, a number, or a combination such as "M?152S." The serial number will be unique for that computer; it will have numerals and possibly letters. Model and serial number lengths will vary.

Where do I find the make, model and serial number?

In most cases, the model and serial number are located on the bottom or back of the item. Laptops often have them on the bottom; televisions may have them in the back. It will usually preface the model number with something like "Model No." and serial numbers with something like "Serial No."

It's very important to record the make, model and serial number of all valuables.

Don't forget that some of the valuables you use every day may have several items with individual makes, models, and serial numbers. For example: If you own a desktop computer, your monitor, keyboard, mouse, external speakers, and computer tower could each have their own make, model, and serial number.

What about valuables like jewelry?

If you have items which are valuable to you but don't have a make/model/serial number, it's a good idea to record all the distinguishing features and general information about the item that you can.

Take photographs of the item. If you're using a digital camera, save the pictures as small files attached to the inventory. Otherwise, consider getting them printed or developed and storing someplace safe (see below).

If you have the pictures developed at another location, do not put your home address on the information you fill out at the store. That will reduce an opportunity for a thief to know where to find your items. Use your business address or another neutral address instead.

What do I do with my home inventory list once it's finished?

It's important to keep a copy of your home inventory list in a safe, secure place. You may need the information for the insurance company or local police department. It's best not to keep the only list in your home-for example, if there is a fire, you may lose it. Here are recommendations for storing your list in a safe place. Do what makes sense for you and your family. Whatever you decide to do, make and keep a backup copy.

Keep your inventory list in a safe place in your home like a safe or lock box. However, also keep a 2nd copy hidden in a book or magazine, or somewhere a burglar would not look for items of value. Also, keep a copy on your computer, thumb/jump drive, or similar data storage device in case your computer is stolen.

Safe deposit box
If you have a safe deposit box, you can keep the jump drive and/or a printed copy of the list there. This way, regardless of what may occur at your home, you will always have access to the information.

If you are technically savvy, one of the best solutions may be to zip, or otherwise archive the list. Many programs that compress files will give you the option of password or pass-phrase protecting the item. Choose a password or pass-phrase that you will remember but that is not obvious (obvious passwords often include birth dates of you or loved ones, names of loved ones or pets, etc.).
If you have an email address that you feel is secure, email that protected file to yourself. Most burglars are opportunists-it's unlikely that anyone would recover that file except you or someone close to you. Also, because this is online, you can access your list anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Keep in mind that if you are using a free email system, your account can be deleted after a period of inactivity. Make sure you don't keep your only copy of the file available on an address that you may lose or that you think is somehow compromised.

Other locations
If you do not have a bank deposit box and are uncomfortable with keeping the file online, consider keeping a copy of the list at a trusted friend's or loved one's house, or another location that works for you like your work office. Keep in mind that if something happens at that location, you may lose your list if you don't have a backup.


Crime Tips

Please email the Criminal Investigations Division at crimetips@horrycounty.org or call 843-915-TIPS (8477)

Drug and Vice Tips

Please email Special Operations at drugtips@horrycounty.org or call 843-915-8346

Warrants Tips

To send us tips on individuals with outstanding warrants, please email Warrants at mostwanted@horrycounty.org or call 843-915-5688

Non-emergency Line: 843-248-1520
Emergency Line: 9-1-1