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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204

Take an inventory to improve chances of recovering stolen property

Collage of different photos with serial numbers

A Portland resident has been encouraging her neighbors to maintain photos and an inventory of assets on file in the event of a loss. Her house was recently burglarized and she could not readily provide photos, serial numbers and descriptions of the items stolen to the police. Unfortunately, this will make it more challenging to get her property back if it is recovered by the police or community. The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) manages a warehouse-sized property room in Northwest Portland that is brimming with bicycles and other unclaimed property. Many of the items languish there because they have not been reported as stolen or the victim couldn’t provide serial numbers, photos or other unique identifiers that help link the items with the owner. Without that information, it also makes it difficult to prove that a suspect has stolen the property or at least is in possession of stolen items. 

Create a list and take photos or videos of electronics, bikes, jewelry, art or other items, which you can refer to if they are stolen or damaged due to a fire or other disaster. It is a good idea to scan and save sales receipts on more expensive items in case your insurance company needs them. Where there are no identifiers, you may engrave or etch information onto the property, such as a driver’s license number. Some property may be immediately recovered following a theft, so please report theft as soon as possible. Besides a photo or video, here are some identifiers to include on your list: 

  • Description 
  • Brand/Make 
  • Model/Style
  • Serial Number
  • Engravings/Markings
  • Size
  • Special features
  • Value 

Please store the list, photos and videos in a fireproof safe, safe deposit box, email account as an attached file, cloud and/or backup drive. 

You can refer to PPB’s brochure called Operation Recovery as a guide: