Residential Safety Tips

Preventing Residential Burglary
Follow these quick and easy tips to make your home less vulnerable to residential burglary:

  • Trim all shrubbery so that it is at least six inches below the bottom of your windows
  • Trim tree limbs so that they are at least eight feet off the ground, leaving a clear field of vision
  • Use outside lighting in an efficient and appropriate manner by investing in timers and motion sensors
  • You may need window treatment (blinds, curtain) to prevent someone from looking inside your home at night
  • All exterior doors should be equipped with deadbolt locks with a minimum one-inch throw
  • Sliding glass doors should be equipped with secondary locks
  • Always lock your doors and windows when leaving your house
  • Repair or replace all broken or inoperative windows, doors lights and locks
  • If you have an automatic garage door, make sure it closes securely when you leave your home
  • Make sure you perform regular maintenance on our alarm
  • Record the serial numbers of your valuables or mark them with your driver’s license number so that they can be identified if stolen.  Click here to download and print out a Home Inventory Form  
  • Photograph your valuables, especially your jewelry
  • Get to know your neighbors; they are your best defense and can only report suspicious activity when they know who or what doesn’t belong in the area
  • Consider joining your local Neighborhood Crime Watch Association
  • Report all suspicious activity to the Gainesville Police Department (GPD)
  • To get a security survey of your home, call GPD’s Community Resource Division at (352) 393-7750.

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) 334-2465.  Written requests should be mailed to:

Gainesville Police Department
Attn:  Records Section
721 NW 6th Street
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
  • Location
  • Date(s)
  • Victim information
  • Case report number