Preventing Residential Burglary
Follow these quick and easy tips to make your home less vulnerable to residential burglary:
- Lock your doors and windows, even if you will only be gone for a few minutes.
- Trim trees and shrubbery to ensure your neighbors can see all of your doors and windows clearly. It’s highly unlikely suspicious activity will be reported to the police if others can not see beyond the vegetation in your yard.
- If your home has a garage, be sure to lock the interior door that connects the garage to the inside of the residence.
- If you have a garage door opener in your vehicle, never leave it in the car that is parked outside of the garage.
- At night, leave exterior lights illuminated. A well-lit home is a far less desirable target to criminals.
- If your home has an alarm system, use it. If you do not have a protection system currently installed, consider purchasing one.
- Consider adding additional locking mechanisms to windows and sliding glass doors to make unwanted entry into your home more difficult.
- Get to know your neighbors. If you are leaving town, have a trusted friend keep an eye on your home and retrieve papers or mail that has been delivered
- Document all valuable items on a list that can be provided to the police if you become the victim of a burglary. Be sure to include the make, model, color, and serial number of each item. Photographs or video of your belongings can also be beneficial for recovery.
- Pay attention to your surroundings and report any suspicious person who seems to be taking an active interest in your home.
If you are a victim of burglary call the Gainesville Police Department immediately.
Stolen Property Location at Pawnshops/Secondhand Dealers
If your stolen property has been located at a pawnshop of secondhand dealer, you may be confused about the process which must be followed to retrieve that property. This section will answer possible questions and inform you of the proper procedure to follow.
Why won’t the police get my property back?
Although GPD cares very much about recovering your stolen property, the Florida Legislature has ruled that police may no longer recover stolen property from pawnshops or secondhand dealers and return it to the victim without providing the pawnbroker or secondhand dealer the opportunity of a hearing.
What are my options to get my property back?
If your stolen property is located at a pawnshop or secondhand dealer, you have two options. First, you can try to work out the return of your property with the pawnbroker or dealer. If that does not work, you can petition the court to recover the property.
What should I do first to recover my property?
The following section details requirements of the Florida Pawnbroking Act (F.S.S. 539.001). Please note that this applies to pawnshops only.
First, you must notify the pawnbroker by certified mail (return receipt requested) or by issuing a signed, written notice in person that you have reported property held by the pawnbroker as stolen to the police, and that you intend to reclaim your property. The notice must include a description of the property and be accompanied by a copy of the police report.
What if the pawnbroker won’t cooperate?
If you cannot successfully solve the problem with the pawnbroker within ten days, you may then file a petition with the court.
How do I file a petition to recover my property from a pawnbroker?
You will need to file your petition with the Clerk of the County Court, naming the pawnbroker as the defendant, in order to obtain a court order for return of your property. The Clerk of the Court may assist you in filing the petition or you may choose to seek legal aid.
Note: The pawnbroker is required to hold the property until the right to possession is resolved by the parties or by the court.
What if my property is at a secondhand dealer?
If your property is found here, the notice procedure is not required, but you should still attempt to negotiate with the dealer. If the secondhand dealer contests the identification or the ownership of the property, and the owner made a timely report of the theft to the proper authorities, the owner may petition the court for a writ of replevin using the form (or substantial facsimile thereof) identified in FSS 538.08.
How do I obtain a copy of a police report?
If you reported the crime to GPD, you may obtain a copy of the report at no cost from our Records Section. Submit a written request through the mail or in person, or call (352) 393-7565. Written requests should be mailed to:
Gainesville Police Department
Attn: Records Section
413 NW 8th Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601
Please note that this process may take 72 hours.
What information must I provide to obtain my report?
To help GPD locate your report, provide this information:
- Type of offense
- Victim information
- Case report number
Neighborhood Crime Watch
What is a Neighborhood Crime Watch?
A Neighborhood Crime Watch is simply a group of concerned neighbors coming together to keep their community free of crime. The emphasis of a neighborhood watch is on detecting and reporting suspicious activity which may lead to crime. By learning more about topics such as how crime occurs, residential security, and personal safety, residents are better able to take necessary steps aimed at preventing crimes before they occur.
Isn't that what the police are for?
The Gainesville Police Department enjoys an excellent reputation for responding to the needs of the community. However, there are simply not enough police officers to be everywhere all of the time. The Police Department responds to hundreds of calls for service each day, ranging from bike theft to bank robbery. Officers depend upon information provided by community members to ensure the most effective use of their time and resources. A Neighborhood Crime Watch acts as the eyes and ears of the Police Department by detecting potential crime risks and promptly reporting them. Communities with active Neighborhood Crime Watch groups often enjoy reductions in crime.
How do we start a Neighborhood Crime Watch?
- Generate interest by talking to your neighbors.
- Plan your first meeting.
- Contact the Gainesville Police Department's Crime Prevention Officers at (352) 393-7750 to schedule a speaker.
- Choose a suitable location for the meeting. (A neighbor's home, or a local school, or church are the most common sites.)
- Send out meeting notifications.
- Conduct the first meeting.
- Follow-up with future meetings.