GARY │ The City Council on Tuesday adopted an ordinance enforcing stricter regulations for “cash for gold” businesses, scrap dealers and pawn brokers in Gary.
Because of a rather high burglary rate in the city, the Police Department wants to crack down on pawn shops to slow the flow of stolen merchandise. There have been a total of 1,294 burglaries that have taken place this year, Police Chief Wade Ingram said.
“Burglaries are a serious issue in the city of Gary,” Ingram said. “This ordinance is going after the business people who are most likely buying stolen items and reselling them.”
Although the number of reported burglaries has decreased by more than 500 compared with last year, the Police Department still wants to make it harder for thieves to make a profit from stolen goods.
The new ordinance will set requirements for all cash for gold stores, pawn shops and scrap dealers.
Anyone bringing an item for trade must show a state-issued ID and submit a thumbprint. The business is to keep records of all transactions, including the date, time and what was sold. All information must be entered into Leads Online, which is a database that is accessible in any city throughout the U.S., and all items that are traded cannot be sold until after a five-day period.
Gary police Detective Brian Farrow said the department purchased and installed the Leads Online database program for $10,000.
“These accurate records can help the detectives get leads and help find the criminals who are selling stolen goods,” Farrow said. “We can slow this problem down tremendously by ensuring these business owners meet these new requirements.”
Despite the cost of the program to the department, business owners will not be asked to pay any fees.
Farrow said Gary residents who pawn outside the city will be able to be tracked within the database, making it easier to identify stolen items that are not sold in the city.