The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Police Department recently launched a new web-based application intended to help the campus community find lost belongings.
The new service, called Crowdfind, is an online lost-and-found service that allows individuals to browse a schoolwide catalogue of lost items that have been found but not claimed. Sara Haake, director of dispatch for UNLPD, has headed up the university’s transition to this new method of managing lost and found.
“Prior to Crowdfind, we didn’t have a great way of displaying the current lost and found inventory for people to claim their items,” Haake said.
The new program will also attempt to address the issue of having lost and found hubs scattered through campus in different buildings.
“Several buildings on campus have their own lost and found areas,” Haake said. “This is the first step (UNLPD) could take to increasing the awareness of the lost and found items and how to claim missing items.”
Through the new service, members of the university community can bring any found item to UNLPD headquarters. The items will be added to the Crowdfind website as well as the department’s lost and found inventory.
If an individual is looking for a lost item on the Crowdfind inventory but can’t find it, they would be able to submit a claim. The submission notifies UNLPD personnel that a lost item was reported and if found, can accelerate the process of returning the item to its owner.
For any owner who claims a lost item on Crowdfind, information will be validated to ensure the person claiming the item is in fact the owner. Once the information is validated, UNLPD will notify the owner and make arrangements for the item to be picked up.
“So far this has been a welcomed change for our users and staff,” Haake said. “UNLPD fields several phone calls a day about lost and stolen items. We are hoping to increase awareness for our UNL community to use Crowdfind so that the dispatching resources can be allotted to other emergent phone calls.”
Learn more about Crowdfind.