The Allentown Police Department is holding a meeting next month to educate business owners about new requirements for those who deal in second-hand merchandise. That would include such businesses as precious metal dealers, second-hand dealers and pawnbrokers.
With an eye on making it easier for police to recover stolen goods, the city will be requiring businesses that buy second-hand goods and/or items containing precious metals from people to report transaction information electronically to the department.
Police noted the change also applies to businesses providing loans to citizens while holding their property as collateral.
The public meeting on the new electronic reporting requirements will be held at 6 p.m. April 12 in Allentown City Council chambers.
Police Capt. William Lake said businesses now fill out such reports on paper, which makes investigations time-consuming for police.
“We literally have to search through files and files of what are in some cases handwritten reports,” Lake said. “It makes it very cumbersome to do research.”
With electronic reporting, it will be easier and quicker to identify goods that are stolen.
“I think this is something that’s good for everyone,” Lake said.
The department has contracted with Business Watch International to provide the software that will allow each business to report these transactions electronically. Businesses will not have to pay for the software, Lake said.
He said the software requires only a basic computer, with Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 or higher, and an internet connection.
The department said it’s likely that most businesses already are operating a point-of-sale system that will be compatible with the software.
The city ordinance change went into effect in late December, Lake said. However, police have not begun enforcing it until businesses can be educated on the change.
BWI will train businesses on the software free of charge. The department said officials from the company should be reaching out to individual businesses in the near future.