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Bloomington Council Hears Proposals To Aid In Theft Recovery

The council is considering amending Title 4 of the Bloomington Municipal Code.

Bloomington City Council

Photo: Indiana Public Media

Bloomington City Council Chambers

The Bloomington City Council is reviewing proposed changes to an ordinance that will regulate how the pawn and scrap metal industries record their transactions.

According to Chief of Police Mike Diekhoff, theft is a tremendous issue in Bloomington and the changes will assist the police department in recovering items in a more timely manner.

Diekhoff advocates the use of an online database that requires pawnshops and scrap metal dealers to submit information on each of their transactions within a 48-hour period.

“ Let’s say your house is broken into tonight, you report it tomorrow morning,” Diekhoff says. “We get your property description and we get it entered into whatever system we’re looking at, then when the pawnshop enters it, it’ll automatically hit so we’ll know right away and there’s just a much greater chance of recovering.”

Pawn shop owners spoke against the changes saying they already maintain a database that is available to police, and this would add another burden to their workflow.

The scrap metal industry would like to see a different approach. Michael McBride represents Bloomington Iron and Metal, a scrap metal yard that would like the police to take a more proactive stance on reporting thefts.

“When they find out some items have been stolen, the police department has this ability to enter what’s been stolen and put these scrap dealers on the lookout for them,” McBride says.

Both industries also expressed concern over customer privacy, saying they do not feel comfortable sharing private information with a third party.

The Council is set to meet September 11, 2013 to hear further discussion and potentially vote on the ordinance changes.

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