MPD SUPPORTS STRONGER PAWN ORDINANCE
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 5:26am
New Language To Be Introduced Next Week
A significantly upgraded crime fighting tool, which will change the ways in which secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers report transactions to police, will be introduced to Madison's Common Council next Tuesday night.
Proposed changes to Madison's General Ordinances will not create a new law, but greatly improve one already on the books, according to Madison Police Chief Noble Wray.
"This is about increasing public safety by making it tougher for thieves, burglars, and drug addicts to peddle stolen goods for cash," said Wray.
Second hand dealers are mandated, under state law, to report transactions to police, but the current paper system is cumbersome and slow. Recommended changes would make information sharing an electronic process where the MPD would receive daily updates regarding sales and purchases.
MPD Captain Jim Wheeler is in charge of the department's Investigative Support Section.
"Pawnbrokers, precious metal dealers and certain secondhand dealers are legitimate businesses and do provide a service to the community," said Captain Wheeler. "But unfortunately these businesses can also provide an opportunity for the commission and concealment of crimes. These businesses have the ability to receive and transfer stolen property easily and quickly," Wheeler added.
Alderperson Mike Verveer and Alderperson Paul Skidmore are sponsors of proposed ordinance changes which include:
• Precluding secondhand dealers from buying from intoxicated or impaired people, or those under age 18.
• Requiring serial numbers on merchandise be recorded, if they are present.
• When serial number numbers are not available, dealers are to take a photo, or record a video of the merchandise.
• Dealers would also be required to take a photo, or record a video, of the seller.
"The Madison Police Department has always had a good relationship with these businesses but the fact remains that criminals use these businesses -unbeknownst to their owners - to profit from a host of illegal activities, like drug users looking for quick cash after breaking into cars or homes," said Capt. Wheeler. He concludes: "One way to attack these problems, and improve public safety, is to make the marketplace much more difficult for criminals to successfully navigate."
- Joel DeSpain, 266-4897