Forsyth County is considering some new regulations intended to crack down on burglars.
Tuesday, the county commission reviewed proposed changes to the reporting requirements for pawn shops and permits for those who buy precious metals and stones.
Commissioners voted 5-0 to air both proposals at two public hearings, which are required before the changes can be adopted. The first hearing likely will be in March.
Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Franco said changes to the ordinance would require pawn shops to take a photo, fingerprint and signature of each person selling an item.
In addition, the shops would send their daily reports of purchased items electronically to allow for a more efficient cross-search with the stolen property list, Franco said.
“This will help us find exactly who that individual was so therefore we can return that property, make an arrest and try to reduce property crimes,” he said.
For businesses that buy jewelry or precious metals, Franco said the sheriff’s office recommends dealers must get a county permit and report what they take in daily, neither of which is currently required.
Any purchased precious metals or gems would be required to be held for 30 days, which Franco said would allow time to recover stolen jewelry before it’s melted or sold.
Franco said cases of people selling stolen goods have been on the rise in Forsyth County.
Neighboring Cherokee and Gwinnett counties have electronic reporting systems in place, he said.
Commissioner Todd Levent said that could be leading more burglars to come to Forsyth to peddle their stolen goods.
“They might come here because they’re looking for the path of least resistance. This will help deter that,” Levent said. “You’ve got to put up obstacles and roadblocks for them.”
Commissioner Patrick Bell expressed concern that additional steps to recover a small percentage of stolen goods could put too much burden on local businesses.
Bell asked that the county contact all the businesses that could be affected to let them know about the proposed changes and when the public hearings will take place.
Franco said the cost of setting up the software, camera and fingerprint scanner will cost about $300 to $350.
However, he said if the sheriff’s office finds a business that has purchased something stolen, the shops will be out whatever amount of money they paid when the item is confiscated.
According to Franco, a pawn shop that has been doing a trial test of the software feels the new measures will prevent those losses.
“They suspect there will be less criminals coming into their store,” he said.