Police Chief Hurtt, Major Cities Chiefs Target
Identity Theft Crimes
June 8, 2005 -- At their meeting
TODAY (June 8), the chiefs of the United States' and Canada's
largest police departments released the results of a year and
a half study regarding one of the fastest growing international
crimes; Identity Theft. The chiefs from the Major Cities Chiefs
Association committed themselves and their organizations to increased
cooperation, additional training, and the implementation of policies
that will assist victims in these incidents. Identity theft is
one of the most difficult crimes to investigate and the harm to
victims is significant as they can spend years repairing their
credit ratings and damage to their reputations. Identity theft
does not respect local, state, or international borders and, as
such, tracking down those responsible for the crime and forwarding
the case for prosecution is problematic.
Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt, President
of the MCCA, praised the results of the research and the strong
commitment by the members of the association to deal effectively
with this crime. "As law enforcement leaders we are striving
to ensure that the first line of response to the crime of identity
theft; local law enforcement, will use the most up-to-date practices
to combat this crime."
The Major Cities Chiefs Association is an organization
comprised of the 63 (56 U.S., seven Canadian) largest police and
sheriff's departments. The organization is dedicated to fostering
the exchange of information and best practices among these "first
responders" in the areas of crime, crime prevention, community
relations, and homeland security.
Summary of the Study and Recommendations:
In 2004, the Major Cities Chiefs Association
received funding to develop a national strategy to combat identity
theft. The purpose of the strategy was to provide law enforcement
nationally with an approach to identity theft that was consistent
across the agencies for greater impact. The national strategy
includes the following seven elements:
1. Partnerships and Collaboration. Emphasizing
a state-level coordinating center to conduct crime analysis, victim
assistance, and statewide investigations. A second recommendation
was to encourage collaboration among law enforcement agencies
and other relevant entities.
2. Reporting Procedures. That all jurisdictions
agree to take reports of identity theft in the geographic jurisdiction
where the victim lives regardless of where the crime occurred;
and that Uniformed Crime Reports develop a consistent definition
of identity theft for reporting purposes.
3. Victim Assistance. All police agencies develop
policies and procedures for responding to victims of identity
4. Public Awareness. Create a national public
awareness campaign that focuses on prevention and response, as
well as reporting.
5. Legislation. Compile and maintain a document
outlining identity theft legislation for the use of law enforcement
agencies and prosecutors.
6. Information Protection. Fund public education
campaign for consumers and merchants to focus specifically on
information protection; work on legislation and other requirements
to protect information.
7. Training. All police, prosecutor, victim assistance,
and private sector organizations should assess their training
needs and seek the training needed.
For additional information, please
contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.