Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

LAPD’s Advice on The Importance of a Home Inventory List

LAPD Wilshire Division crime map for February 14-20, 2016
LAPD Wilshire Division crime map for February 14-20, 2016.  Red, green and blue circles represent burglaries.

Yesterday, LAPD Officer Robert Davenport, from Wilshire Division’s Cyber Support Unit, posted some good reminders on our local social media lists about the importance of keeping a home inventory list in case of burglary, fire or natural disaster.

“Every person who has been through a burglary, fire, or other home-wrecking disaster says this is the one thing they wish they had,” wrote Officer Davenport.  “Why? It’s easier to write the details now – it’s harder after a traumatic event like a break-in or a house fire.” But it will be exactly in the midst of those kinds of trying times, he said, when you’ll need to file a police report, insurance claim, or disaster claim…and you’ll need information about your personal items at your fingertips.

“When reporting the crime, you will have a list already prepared,” said Davenport, “with the serial numbers of the items so there will be no delay in returning the items to you if found.”

According to Davenport, “a home inventory is a list or videos/photos of everything in your home.” To make one:

– Find a folder,box, or binder to hold videos, photos, written lists and documents of your belongings.
– Label it!
– Photograph or describe each item, including its brand name, make, model, serial number and the price.
– Include any other information you think might be helpful.
– Consider using an inexpensive electric engraving pen to mark more expensive items (like electronics) with a personal ID such as your last name or nickname, to help with faster identification.
– For items that can’t be engraved (art, jewelry, etc.), take photographs and write full descriptions

[Note: To make this even easier, the Insurance Information Institute offers free desktop software and mobile phone apps to help with making your home inventory lists…and individual insurance companies also offer templates and spreadsheets.  Check your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance company website to explore their available tools.]

Items you should include in your home inventory list, said Davenport, are “anything in your home or car that has a serial number. This includes cell phones, computers, modems, televisions, bicycles and even the microwave.”

Also, in addition to keeping the inventory book, box or file in your home, it’s a good idea to have an electronic copy of the photos and information, and upload them to some sort of cloud storage, where you can still access them in case of fire or other physical damage to your home.

And, finally, don’t forget to update your list periodically, whether it’s once a year, or when you purchase something new.

According to Davenport, “Crime, especially burglary, is something that can happen anywhere and to anyone. Truly, the best way to avoid becoming a victim of crime is to take steps to prevent crime and if the unfortunate does happen and you are a victim of crime, then it is important to have a strategy to identify stolen possessions.”

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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