FCIC Public Access System for Stolen Property
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, in conjunction with the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, and local law enforcement agencies, is placing Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC) "Hot Files" on the Internet in an effort to solicit public support in locating stolen property, wanted persons and missing persons.
Initially, only records of stolen guns, vehicles, vehicle parts, license plates, boats, and boat parts were made available to the public. However, records containing stolen appliances, televisions, stereos and other articles with serial numbers were placed on the FDLE website in November. Wanted and missing person files were added in December.
The losses suffered by Floridians who are victims of crimes exceeded $745 million in the first half of 2000 alone. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of law enforcement officers, less than a third of this property is recovered. The FCIC Public Access System will allow the public to become more actively involved in these recovery efforts. In the system, a citizen can query the Internet to determine whether an item has been listed as stolen. By serving as a mechanism for citizens to provide tips to law enforcement, the Public Access System will assist in combating the sale and distribution of stolen property and promote the arrest of criminals.
Persons looking to buy used guns, vehicles or other property now will have a tool to check whether the item is stolen. If an Internet inquiry results in a "hit", we ask the inquirer to send tips to the local law enforcement agency that entered the stolen item's information. Citizens should not attempt to take the law into their own hands, but rather become more active partners with local law enforcement. It is anticipated that tips from the public will result in stolen items being recovered and returned to their rightful owners and will assist in the arrest of the offenders.
Collectively, all law enforcement agencies in Florida have agreed to allow FDLE to provide these records to the public via the Internet. These are not FDLE records; however FDLE acts as a central repository for FCIC records. Currently, FCIC contains more than 150,000 records of stolen guns, and approximately 74,000 records of stolen vehicles. These property types represent a significant portion of the property reported stolen in Florida. In the first half of 2000, nearly 10% of reported crimes involved the theft of a motor vehicle, while stolen firearms accounted for losses in excess of $2.5 million. These stolen guns are then often used to further victimize the citizens of this state.
Florida is the first state in the country to offer this type of information on a statewide basis over the Internet.