In the first 10 months of 2008, Salem Police responded to 903 calls concerning locked vehicles, and City of Salem Communications Director Mike Stevens says they were almost always non-emergency situations.
An answer to dealing with property problems
In January, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department stopped accepting found items. Chief Daniel Isom makes it clear, he's not talking about lost weapons or computers, which if they have serial numbers and have been reported stolen can be reunited with their owners, nor is he talking about items (like a discarded purse) that look like they could be evidence. Isom says most of the found items had no value to police (or evidently their owners, who didn't reclaim them). They included broken electronic equipment, mangled car parts and children's bicycles, and in 2007, totaled 27,000 items. When citizens called, often a police officer would stop by, pick them up and store them along with evidence in the property custody area. Over time, items have piled up and filled old jail cells and just about every space imaginable, he describes.
Steps the department is taking to fix the problems in property custody include initiating the legal process to send unclaimed found property to auction. (The law does not mandate the Metropolitan Police Department to accept found property. Missouri law says citizens who find property worth more than $10 must file an affidavit with a circuit clerk, promising the property is still in the same condition. If the property is valued at $20 or more, the finder must advertise it in a daily newspaper for three weeks. Eventually, if no one claims the property, the finder can keep it.)
Isom concludes the department was happy to reunite children with their bikes but they're even happier when stored evidence helps lead to successful prosecution of a criminal.