gwen (gwenix) wrote,

I'm forwarding the following letter from Geoff Grabowski with his
permission and encouragement. The full article behind this is at

-- Forward --

Look! It's a surveillance program using vile police-state rhetoric. Someone
even says "If you're not guilty, you have nothing to fear!" After you read this,
you'll want to know that the phone number for the Lincoln Square Mall is
817-461-7953 -- I know, I finished reading it, and I immediately grabbed for
the phone. Call them up and tell them just how much you like their
compliance with this police surveillance program. And while you're reading
this? Forward it to all your friends -- let's show them what "we anticipate no
complaints" really means.

Posted on Sat, Aug. 31, 2002 {PRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=story:PUB_DESC"}
Police ask stores to take fingerprints^O
Special to the Star-Telegram
ARLINGTON - Police are asking businesses to voluntarily participate in
a program to take customers' fingerprints if they pay by check.
Operation Thumbs Up, scheduled to begin citywide Sunday, aims to
help authorities identify check theft and forgery by obtaining a source of
identification that can't be stolen or faked - fingerprints. The system is
similar to those used by banks that require fingerprints on checks.
"No longer can we rely on the driver's license as a valid form of identity
when passing a check," Detective Kyle Gibson said. "We can't expect
clerks to memorize every face in a line. By getting a print, we can place
that person when the check was passed to get a successful prosecution."
The program was announced Friday. Police spokeswoman Christy
Gilfour said the department is considering making the program
Participating stores will be clearly identified to the public. Employees will
be trained to take fingerprints. A series of town hall meetings will be
scheduled to explain the program to business owners and the
community. Wes Jurey, president of the Arlington Chamber of
Commerce, said the organization will help make Arlington's 10,000
store owners aware of the program's benefits over the coming weeks.
Jurey said there has been no adverse reaction from business owners he
has talked to about the program.
"I think most people are not aware of how easy it would be for a person
to come into a store, open an account with another person's identity,
charge a large amount of merchandise and return it. Then the merchant
has a problem," Jurey said.
Alan Levy, chief of the criminal division of the Tarrant County district
attorney's office, said having a fingerprint means "there won't be any
question about who passed the check" and will save prosecutors time
litigating fraud cases.
Police said Arlington has had an increase in check fraud during the past
three years. From 1999 to July 2002, detectives worked 8,463 forged
check cases resulting in $1.7 million in losses to merchants, according to
police records. In most of these cases, detectives have no suspects
because fraudulent identification was used, Sgt. James Crouch said.
Police said fingerprinting systems are inexpensive compared to
merchandise loss and will help keep prices down for the consumer.
Systems will cost businesses between $2 and $40 a month to operate,
Gibson said. Businesses will purchase the type of system they want to
The systems range from an inkless pad in which the chemical easily rubs
off the skin, to an electronic sensor that compares a customer's print to a
pre-scanned fingerprint, Crouch said. Another system involves a clear
chemical that leaves a blue imprint when pressed onto a chemical-
sensitive sticker that is usually placed onto the back of a check.
Police assured they will only see prints when a business submits a forged
check for investigation, Crouch said. The print will then be checked
against others in a statewide criminal fingerprint database.
Pam Dawson, property manager for the Lincoln Square shopping
center, said seven stores have participated in the program since March,
and she expects all 88 stores in the center to comply.
"Our goal is to show we are a safe shopping center," she said. "If you
are a fraudulent check user, we don't want you to come to Lincoln
Dawson doesn't expect complaints from customers.
"I anticipate if you are not guilty of anything, it's not going to matter to
you if someone takes your thumbprint," she said.

Geoffrey C. Grabowski

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