A Vancouver police officer has launched a website for residents to register valuable possessions in an effort to put a stop to property crime in the city.
Const. David Brierley says he was frustrated with the lack of resources to help him identify stolen items, so he created a private website called propertycop.org.
While the Vancouver police department is not involved in the site's administration, it does have the department's unofficial backing, says Brierley.
His site is non-profit and run by volunteers. Users register their valuable items, such as bicycles and electronic goods, online for free and can also provide pictures.
Brierley says it means that when police stop someone suspected of having stolen goods they can run a simple check on the website.
"So now the police officer on the road will be able to use the property cop database to query serial numbers that the owner has proactively provided, and for the first time he'll be able to find out who the owner is and get the item back to him," Brierly told CBC News.
He says it differs from traditional police databases which record only stolen property.
The site's FAQ section says people who register are identified by their driver's licence number, "which only the police can cross reference."
"Police and Propertycop authorized personnel are the only groups who can access the database. Users do not include their address when registering property. Only general information is given such as city, state/prov, and country. The only specific information is that regarding the property itself," the site says.
MLA Lorne Mayencourt says the website is one of a kind in North America and hopes it will catch on.