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Police Blotter


March 1, 2012 8:13 AM

LeadsOnline (LO) is software that helps law enforcement catch criminals, while helping make the day-today operations and compliance with laws easier for secondhand businesses. LeadsOnline is free to the secondhand business owner and Madison's secondhand dealer city ordinance 9.24 (§ 134.405) requires businesses to now electronically report all transactions to LO on a daily basis. The data shared includes the item that was sold/pawned, a description with identifiers (serial number, make and model), and full identification of the selling customer's name, address, phone number, physical descriptors and ID number. A photograph of the customer, item and signature are mandatory for almost all transactions. Ordinance 9.24 was updated in February 2012, and has two additional ordinances (Scrap/Recycling Dealers (9.21) and Purchase/Sale "Junk" (9.22)), that will require businesses to also report transactions daily using LO.

LeadsOnline provides rapid electronic access to transactions from thousands of reporting businesses including scrap metal processors, secondhand stores, Internet drop-off stores, and pawn shops across the country, as well as critical information from eBay listings for criminal investigations. Leads not only helps in locating stolen goods, but is a very effective tool in daily investigations as well. Ideally, with full business compliance, one has access to addresses, phone numbers, physical descriptions and current photographs of the customers selling items. All of this information can, and has assisted in all types of incidents and investigations. For instance, a phone number ran in Leads located a sexual assault associate. Another prime example was a phone number that was located for a robbery suspect who
then gave up his accomplices once he was caught and interviewed. Current addresses have often been obtained via Leads, which helps with effective case follow-up.

There is still the huge obstacle of the compliance of businesses. Identifying all of the businesses is still in the works, as we currently only have approximately 50 stores registered for Leads. Within those 50, the discrepancies with complete reporting still exists. The scrap/recycling dealers aren't included in the ordinance.

The Pawn position compiles and sends out suspicious persons and activities to the specific investigative groups that would benefit from the information. Our Burglary Task Force group often receives the information to monitor and potentially follow-up on. Furthermore, daily information is researched and monitored in order to provide information of possible criminal activity; respond to countless requests submitted every day, and monitor secondhand dealers to ensure compliance. Once information of value is found, it is sent to the investigative staff of the district where the crime occurred for additional follow-up work. Contact is also made with the businesses and information is shared for a proactive approach on crime information. When stolen  property is located there are required documents to retrieve the item(s), return it to the victim and follow-up with the suspect. MPD is also working on tracking the successes of the program by sending information back to the Criminal Intelligence Section. This provides an incredibly valuable tool. This ordinance has sunset clause that expires June 2013, so additional common council work will be needed to keep
the program.
Some examples of MPD's success with LeadsOnline have been, but definitely not limited to:

• A stolen bicycle was located on Leads, and from the recovery of that particular bike, there was a total of over $33,000 worth of stolen items recovered.
• Leads provide police with people to talk to on investigations and helps identify patterns that have formed in numerous bigger cases or serial crimes.
• Frequently, there are many drug addicted persons that have a pattern. They steal from others in order to get their daily fix, and frequently pawn the stolen goods.
• Leads has aided in detecting suspect crime rings, which also assists in solving investigations and crime.
• Returning stolen items to victims provides some consolation to the crime victim.
• Since February 2012, there has been well over $70,000 has been recovered in stolen items.

Within the Leads software is a tool available to all called ReportIt. This program provides a method for maintaining secure records of property one owns. You may store serial numbers, item descriptions, pictures, and scans of receipts so that the items may be more easily identified in the event of theft or loss. This record may also come in handy when reporting any loss to the insurance provider or police when filing a report.

LeadsOnline Web Support: (800) 311-2656

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