A few tips to aid in the recovery of stolen camera gear or other valuable goods.
Use an engraver or UV marking system to mark all your kit. If you don't wish to do this for resale purposes it's understandable. However, regardless of engraving your gear the following should be undertaken
Make a list of serial numbers and all pertinant information such as a written description of the item. I highly recommend this be done in a spreadsheet.
My current spreadsheet has the following columns:
Date of purchase
Estimated resale value.
Each and every item is listed, even down to minor things like flash synchro cables.
Next take shots of each item in your kit .. for lenses and bodies it's worth taking half a dozen images from different viewpoints. When done have scan the images and save as 800x600 pixel images in JPG format.
Take photos of your kit in it's camera bag etc as well.
Finally burn a couple of copies of the all the material (images plus spreadsheet) on to CD's and keep one copy at home and give the other copy to a relative who lives at another location. This way if your kit is stolen and your house/flat ransacked you'll have a second copy that you can access.
Why go to the bother I hear you ask? Well the police generally ask for not only serial numbers but also desscriptions and where possible photos of the items that were stolen. Having all the relevant information on CD greatly simplifies the process of accessing the information in a fast manner.
Finally. Lobby your government to introduce mandatory reporting of serial numbers by second hand dealers (camera shops, pawn brokers etc) and to introduce a national stolen items register (database) to facilitate in the recovery of stolen goods.
On a different note:
As some of you know, last year I had a fair amount of kit stolen when my house was burgled. This is the second time in the past 17 years that I've had gear stolen, last time none of it was ever recovered.
The good news is that 3 items have been recovered by the police, and a person charged with "Fraudulent Passing" and other charges relating to attempting to dispose of the items recovered. Sadly the remaning gear has yet to be found.