It is no secret that theft is a big problem in any part of the world. It is something that we as humans have been battling for our entire existence. The city of Tulsa Oklahoma recognizes how hard this battle is and is looking to give law enforcement more tools to work with in their fight against theft.
City officials are working to curb the fencing of stolen items by expanding regulations on pawn shops to include secondhand stores.
Tulsa Police Department officials told city councilors Thursday that secondhand stores are a loophole for thieves who have learned not to sell items to pawn shops because of a legal requirement to track the items being bought and sold.
The way they see it, thieves have realized that off-loading stolen goods at pawnshops is not a very smart thing to do as pawnshops are legally required to report any and all transactions, which include the name, address and other personally identifying information of the seller as well as descriptions of the pawned goods, to the police. To bypass this, thieves have turned to alternative sources selling off stolen goods.
So the Tulsa City Council is looking to expand pawnshop laws to cover almost all other secondhand stores.
Secondhand shops identified by Tulsa police include video gaming stores, computer and electronics stores, tool stores, sports stores and music stores.
Councilors agreed to start work on a draft for an ordinance that would address the loophole.
Such laws are not uncommon around the US. I worked at an EB Games in Arizona in 2003 and we had to report and hold all video game consoles that were sold to us. Most people were pretty content with such requirements.
Where these laws seem to lose all effectiveness is when the transactions completely bypass a third party and are done face to face. The Tulsa Police recognizes this weakness in some respect.
A proposed ordinance to regulate garage sales is being worked on, and Seibert said flea-market sales are a separate problem.
"That's its own monster," she said. "We're probably going to need something different for that."
There are still other means that are a lot more popular and far easier to use than flea markets and secondhand stores. I am talking about online websites such as Craigslist and ebay. A savvy thief would likely use those due to their relative anonymity. There is no indication that this proposed ordinance would have any impact on such direct person to person sales utilizing the internet.
-Reporting for Oklahoma, Game Politics Correspondent E. Zachary Knight