With identity theft on the rise, Indianapolis police are working with victims to help avoid mistaken arrests.
Over the past two years, there have been nearly 300 wrongful arrests in Indianapolis blamed on someone using another person's name, police told Call 6 Investigator Rafael Sanchez.
The victims are friends or relatives of people wanted on a warrant in Marion County. The actual criminals hope using someone else's personal information will keep police away.
"It's kind of important. It's incumbent upon that person who's identity has been used to report it, whether it's a family member of a friend," said Indianapolis police spokeswoman Sgt. Linda Jackson. "I realize it will cause some uncomfortable situations, but it's more uncomfortable for you as a victim to being going to jail for something someone else is doing."
The Identification Unit at the City-County Building is one of several places where people whose names are being used by someone wanted on an active warrant in Marion County can obtain a wrongful identity card.
The process includes giving a thumb print, submitting to a records search and having a photograph taken.
During a traffic stop, the card will alert officers that the person's identity is being misused. It's up to the officer if he or she will accept the card.
"This is not an identification card. This is simply a card that will help keep someone out of jail if they're not the person wanted on a warrant," said Jerry Marr, manager of the Identification Unit.
In 2010, 158 identity theft victims received a wrongful identity card. So far in 2011, 130 cards have been distributed.
"We want to make sure that the guilty person, the person who has the warrant, is the one going to jail," Jackson said.
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