This guest post was provided by Justin.
Having something stolen from you can be one of the most frustrating and heartbreaking experiences one can go through. Especially when it’s something that really means a lot to you or that was expensive. What do you do when something is stolen from you? You may really want your stolen goods back, but how?
Prevention is Better than Cure
Locating stolen stuff requires effort and time. History has proven how hard it is to recover stolen items. It is so hard that many give up. It can be expensive, sometimes even surpassing the value of the lost item. Of course the best thing to do is to secure your items before a theft occurs. As first line of defense we always recommend installing a home security system to protect your family and property 24/7. Fortunately with today’s technology there are tools to help in the event something is stolen from you.
The first thing you should ask is “Where do stolen goods go?”. Most stolen goods are sold to other people. A lot of them go to pawnshops. Tons are posted on Craigslist for sale.
Buyers do know that items are stolen goods. They also may not know that possession of stolen goods may lead to criminal charges. As a precaution, buyers should check the item through major search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. The police index all reported missing goods to search engines.
Stolen911 is an easy way of having stolen goods indexed by major search engines. To increase the possibility of recovering stolen items, you can post them to Stolen911’s website on your own. It is not an assurance that the buyer would give back your item, but it’s worth a shot.
2.) Prey Project
The most commonly stolen goods are gadgets, specifically laptops, phones, and tablets. Since these gadgets have advanced integrated technology, they are easier to find when stolen. Prey is a project that helps you find those stolen items.
Unlike most projects that offer the same service, Prey works with all well-known operating systems. You can have your iOS, Android or Windows mobile devices protected by their service. You can protect Windows, Mac, and Linux powered laptops as well.
To use Prey’s service you must have their app installed on your device and you need to be logged into the app. When one of your devices is stolen, you have the option to lock, locate, alarm, or send a notification to your stolen device. Since we are focusing on the recovery of stolen goods, the Location feature is my favorite. I’ve tried it myself and the app does its job well.
We usually see GPS tracking devices in movies, but in real life, not so much. However, Locca does what it says it does. If you want an item recovered even when stolen, simply attach a Locca to it. The tracker is located with the use of an app native to iOS devices.
Locca also works like a virtual leash. You can set zones, and when your Locca goes out of that zone, it notifies you. It is both a good preventive measure and handy for recovering lost items.
4.) Item Trackers
Unlike Locca, item trackers are usually limited. Yes, you can track items when they are within a set range, often 100ft. from your smartphone but when it goes beyond that, item trackers use a ‘crowd GPS’ feature. It only works when another person who also uses the same brand of tracker comes within the range of your item. Your app then refreshes your item’s location.
In essence, you can be helping someone track his item without you knowing anything about it, and other people can do the same for you.
Brands like Tile, TrackR and Duet by Protag work using a crowd sourced feature.
5.) Social Networks
Social networks, or the people on social networks, have helped recover a lot of stolen goods. Jenny Oh Hatfield, an interactive producer for KQED, found her stolen bike through the help of fellow cyclists she met on Twitter. Now, she’s using a Google+ group page to help other people recover their stolen bikes. In fact, the site is accredited with helping an Oakland cyclist recover his bike, which was stolen 6 years ago, in Oregon.
The best part? Social media and sites like KQED are typically free, plus, you meet new friends.
For the list above, I chose pieces of technology that would help recover a wide range of items, but there are also those that are developed to help recover specific items.
- Find My iPhone app by Apple (Finds iPhones, iPods, iPads or Macs)
- Android Device Manager by Google (Finds Android devices)
- bikeindex.org (Finds Bikes)
- LoJack (Finds Cars and Trucks; limited to 29 US States)
- Stolen Camera Finder (Finds Cameras)
Despite the technology available to locate stolen stuff, it is still required that you report it to the authorities.
Note: It is not safe to locate and retrieve a stolen item on your own.
This article was contributed by HomeSecurityPages.com. A provider of nationwide home security listings and reviews.