Do pawn shops lead to burglaries?
Fulton city officials think there’s a correlation. They hope a new pawn shop law, approved recently, will help them solve some of these property crimes.
The city hosts two pawn shops now, including an outlet of the fast-growing regional chain Pawn King on Route 481.
“It is our law enforcement’s opinion that [the growth of pawn shops in the city] has led to a number of increases of burglaries locally,” said Mayor Ron Woodward.
The Common Council approved a local law covering secondhand dealers. The law is modeled on the city of Syracuse’s ordinance, which city leaders there say has been a success.
It requires pawn shops to register with the city and to keep a detailed list of every item they accept for sale, including the seller’s name and other identifying information.
The law also requires dealers to keep every item they accept for at least 11 days. That’s important because, as Fulton Police Chief Orlo Green notes, jewelry can be melted down almost immediately. “It gives us an opportunity to recover property for victims,” said Green, who added that people sometimes don’t realize for days that some items are missing.
Woodward said one of the things they noticed about Syracuse’s law is that soon after it went into effect, secondhand dealers closed and moved out of the city to the surrounding towns, where there were no restrictions in place.
He said he will ask the towns surrounding Fulton to adopt a secondhand dealer ordinance to try to avoid the problem.
The secondhand dealer ordinance has been submitted to the state for final approval. It will be effective as soon as the state gives its approval.