2015-03-18 / Front Page

Cops Urge Queens Residents To Utilize Gadget Etching Program

By LIZ GOFF
Police officials are urging Queens residents to participate in the NYPD iPod Etching Program that assists cops in their war on thieves who snatch electronic gadgets from borough residents.

Under the “IDs for iPods” program, cops at local precincts and transit locations are using invisible ink to tag the tiny tune-machines, cell phones, Blackberries and other small electronic devices. Using the registered number, cops will be able to return the items to their owners – and provide prosecutors will valuable evidence, NYPD officials said.

“IDs for iPods” replicates the NYPD “VIN-Etch” program, where cops use an acid-based solvent to mark undisclosed areas on vehicles and bicycles with a number provided by the owner. The number allows cops to link recovered vehicles and bikes with their rightful owner. A similar tracking system dubbed “Operation Identification” was established by the NYPD in the 1970s.

The program encouraged people to etch their Social Security (or other) numbers on valuables at home or at the office. Under the program, police at local precincts loaned etching tools to individuals and civic organizations to perform the process.

Under the new, high-tech program, cops use invisible ink to mark the gadgets. The ink can only be seen with an infrared light – which is only available to law enforcement, sources said.

Queens cops are offering the free service through Community Affairs offices at each of the borough’s 16 police precincts, and at Transit Bureau offices in all five boroughs, NYPD officials said.

Police officials are urging residents to call the Crime Prevention officer at their local precinct for information on how and when to register electronic gadgets in the ID program.

Transit police officials said straphangers can register their iPods and other electronic devices at Queens Transit Bureau Headquarters, located at the Union Turnpike station in Kew Gardens (opposite Main Street on Queens Boulevard).

For times and locations of registration tables in subway stations (in Queens and throughout the City), call the Queens NYPD Transit Bureau at 718-659-4050.

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