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  • Lost & Found

    How many of you work for departments that take care of lost & found items?

    How long do you hold onto the items?

    What do you do with unclaimed things?

    Do you actively try to find the owners?

    in my downtown hotel we take care of lost & found. During the last downturn in the economy it probably saved our dayshift. (Most other hotels cut theirs).

    Quebec law says that lost & found has to be kept for 60 days. We keep items for 90 days.

    Unclaimed items are given to the person who found them.

    Most hotels do not attempt to find the owner. Why? "Hello, Mrs. Smith, this is the XYZ Hotel in Montreal. We just want to let you know that we found your nighty you left in the room yesterday when you checked out. What? you did not come to Montreal with your husband....." See why?
    I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
    Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

  • #2
    A hosptial I once worked at kept the items for 90 days before they were destroyed. The itmes were places into white bags and logged into lost and found by an attendent. I wasnt around long enough to confirm this but I am told all the unclaimed bags were burnt in the hospital's incinerator since there was the potential for it to be a bio-hazzard.
    At my current job we will attept to return the item if it is something like a drivers licence, credit card or cell phone. Items like clothing or generally untraceable items are kept in a locker for 2 weeks before being dropped off at the salvation army. Jewlery is kept in a safe in the office.
    Unfortunately we dont get to keep the items we find.
    I cant be a vegitarian... I love the taste of death!

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    • #3
      If it something that can be linked to the owner (i.e. cellphone, debit card) I email them personally. Otherwise I send a Mass-Mail to everyone describing the item. If no-one claims it with in a week or so it goes into one of several copy paper boxes, unless someone expresses an interest in it. Every year the employees hold a "yard sale" to raise money for charity. I set aside the newest box of items and sort through the rest. Anything sellable I put in the sale. I drop eyeglasses off at a Lion's Club box. Valuable items get logged in the daily report and turned into Human Resources. Cellphones that cannot be identified (no Subscriber Identity Module) get donated to Cellphones for Soldiers.
      "A good deed’s like pissing yourself in dark pants. Warm feeling but no one notices." - Jacob Taylor

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      • #4
        My Security Dept. handles L&F for the hotel.


        -Length of hold: 30 days for clothing, misc. items, toys, etc.
        90 days for items of value like watches, jewelry, money, purses, wallets, electronics, IDs, etc.

        -Unclaimed Items: unclaimed items are given to the person that found it in the first place; Security, housekeeping, etc. If that person is no longer with the company, it goes to the SO that filed the L&F paperwork. If he/she isn't available, it goes up for grabs.

        IDs, passports, credit cards, etc. are all destroyed if not claimed.

        Managers/Security Director will try to make contact with a guest if a L&F inquiry form was filed due to a loss and the item located. Otherwise, it's up to them to call and claim it.
        "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

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        • #5
          Just a short note about found drivers licenses. Some states require that found drivers licenses must be turned over to law enforcement authorities within a certain time frame. I've seen some instances where the requirement was 72 hours. I would check the requirement for your state.
          Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
          CoAuthor - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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          • #6
            Originally posted by HotelSecurity View Post
            How many of you work for departments that take care of lost & found items?

            I do.

            How long do you hold onto the items?

            90 Days

            What do you do with unclaimed things?

            If its unlinkable, we throw it out. If its money, facilities management takes it.

            Do you actively try to find the owners?

            Again if its linkable. IE: cellphone, credit cards ect.

            Hope this helps.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by HotelSecurity View Post
              How many of you work for departments that take care of lost & found items?
              I do

              How long do you hold onto the items?
              I don't know but will ask tonight at work.

              What do you do with unclaimed things?
              Found items are logged and stored in our property vault/room.

              Do you actively try to find the owners?
              If we know who it belongs to we will usually try to contact the person.

              in my downtown hotel we take care of lost & found. During the last downturn in the economy it probably saved our dayshift. (Most other hotels cut theirs).

              Quebec law says that lost & found has to be kept for 60 days. We keep items for 90 days.

              Unclaimed items are given to the person who found them.

              Most hotels do not attempt to find the owner. Why? "Hello, Mrs. Smith, this is the XYZ Hotel in Montreal. We just want to let you know that we found your nighty you left in the room yesterday when you checked out. What? you did not come to Montreal with your husband....." See why?
              My replies are in red.
              Hospital Security Officer

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              • #8
                Lost & Found is generally the top drawer of my desk. I keep most items for 90 days, then check with management. Usually they tell me to do what I want with it, so either I or the other officer claim it.
                That's a direct quote. Not word for word, but the gist of it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by HotelSecurity View Post

                  How many of you work for departments that take care of lost & found items?
                  The mall I worked at had Lost & Found


                  How long do you hold onto the items?
                  The policy stated 60 days but they would be in a locked cage for months

                  What do you do with unclaimed things?
                  If unclaimed, they would be donated to charity or turned over to who ever claimed it, provided you left your information with Guest Reception

                  Do you actively try to find the owners?
                  I highly doubt the mall went too far out of its way to contact the owner.

                  Lost & Found was inventoried each day to see what was turned in. Guest Reception staff has to keep a log and each day a Security Supervisor has to double check it at close of business and sign off on it. Valuables like ID's, Credit Cards, Passports, Cash, real jewelery, purses/wallets, etc are locked up in a safe and not with the rest of the lost and found.
                  There is my response
                  "I am not a hero. I am a silent guardian, a watchful protector"

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                  • #10
                    Where I used to work we would log all lost and found items into a binder listing the description of the item, who found it, where it was found, and when it was found. We would then tie a tag to the item and a assign it a number for tracking. Valuable items like wallets, cell phones, jewelery, credit cards, etc. would be locked up in a filing cabinent that only the supervisor had access to. If at all possible we would try to contact the owners of the lost and found items if contact info was available. We really had no timeframe on when to get rid of the items.

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                    • #11
                      How many of you work for departments that take care of lost & found items?

                      How long do you hold onto the items? 45 days

                      What do you do with unclaimed things? Officer can take home, or they get thrown out or donatated to charity

                      Do you actively try to find the owners? no. unless its a known building employee, if its something that has Id card with then yes.
                      Its not how we die that counts.....
                      Its not how we lived that counts....
                      all that matters is how we saved that one life that one time by being in the right place at the right time....

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                      • #12
                        If its been "lost" we are not required to find it (unless it's a vehicle).
                        If it is "found" and it will fit........top drawer.

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                        • #13
                          I do not know if the US postal service does it but Cnada Post will forward ids with addresses on them if you drop them in a mail box. So if a driver's licence is found we will drop it in a mailbox if not claimed after a few days, This way it gets back to the owner & people whodon't need to know do not find out where it had been lost.

                          BTW the item left behind the most in an hotel room these days?: Cellphone chargers.
                          I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                          Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

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                          • #14
                            At most of our sites we turn found items over to the client, usually HR, and let them deal with it. That relieves us of any liability should something disappear.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HotelSecurity View Post
                              How many of you work for departments that take care of lost & found items?
                              The best procedures I've seen was at a hospital I worked at. It's probably because there were several different kinds of items lost over the years, and the security staff have been working there for quite a long time, developing and implementing good procedures. The procedures were developed over time because a items went missing, the owner would show up and someone would get fired in the process.

                              Originally posted by HotelSecurity View Post
                              How long do you hold onto the items?
                              Depends on the item and value. First, we would always have a detailed chain of custody filled out for each item. Second, it's itemized logged and put in a tamper proof evidence bag signed by a minimum of two people. The bag would go into a safe that required two keys to open, one by the shift security officer and the other by the supervisor. When we would release the items it would require the person who found it, supervisor, shift security officer, and the witness who all signed it in to sign it back out after verifying the identification of the individual. The identification would be logged, just name, address, telephone number and item, and the individual would sign a release form.

                              Originally posted by HotelSecurity View Post
                              What do you do with unclaimed things?
                              If it's a low valued item, that hasn't been claimed in ninety days or one year if we think it has sentimental value, we would donate it to the Catholic Church who owned the hospital.

                              If item wasn't claimed in 24 hours or in some cases as soon as possible, the item was high in value, or the item may be suspected in a crime, we would have the police come and take possession of it. This actually happened more than you would think. Fortunately, the police were more than happy to accommodate us.

                              Originally posted by HotelSecurity View Post
                              Do you actively try to find the owners?
                              Fortunately, since we worked in a medium sized hospital we could usually associate the lost item to the individual who was in the hospital. The hospital was usually able to contact the individuals on the lost item in a short amount of time. The contact methods were somewhat difficult with hospital regulations. The security department wasn't able to call the individual directly, only an administrative employee could place the call and wasn't allowed to know what the item was that was lost or they couldn't place the call to begin with. So when the administrative employee would call, they would state to the individual that it was suspected that they lost an item and had to describe it. The description would come back to security and we would confirm it or deny it, and the administrative employee would call the individual back. This was such a pain to do, but it was for CYA. The only exception to this rule is if personal identifiable information is on the lost item, we could contact the owner directly.

                              If the item is something that states the owners name, address or other contact information we directly contact the owner as soon as possible, or someone related to the owner as soon as we could. A perfect example is checkbooks, although checkbooks usually don't have phone numbers on the checks we would usually call the bank of the owner and have them notify the owner to contact us. After verifying the identification of the individual, we would have them sign a release form and return the items to them.

                              For items that weren't claimed within a few days, we would run advertisements in the hospital bulletin boards, local paper and on the local cable information station. These advertisements were free of charge for us due to nature of the situation, being lost and found.
                              sigpic

                              "Great danger lies in the notion that we can reason with evil" - Doug Patton

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