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The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department investigates all property crimes that occur in the unincorporated areas of Hamilton County and in incorporated areas when requested by another agency. Currently, all burglaries and property crimes over $1000.00 are investigated by Investigative Services. Patrol Services investigates all property crime under $1000.00 and provides assistance in cases of burglary and felony level thefts.

Property Crimes and You

Investigative services attempts to respond with patrol to as many burglaries as possible. The documentation process may include photographs, a check for latent prints and a written narrative regarding condition of crime scene. While this is an important process, there are other factors even more important in the probability of your case being solved. It has been our experience that most cases are solved through the tracking of property (serial numbers), word of mouth, citizen observations, and yes, many times the suspicions of the victim. Many times your first impression is accurate; so do not hesitate to inform investigating officers of any possible suspects.

While a check for latent prints may be conducted, things in the real world do not operate like they do on TV. The type, location and texture of surfaces many times rule out any possibility of identifiable prints. Further, prints may be of no value if a friend or relative has committed the crime. If they have lawfully been on the premises there is a justifiable reason for their prints being at scene. For these reasons we are trained to look for ideal surfaces in which there is a high probability perpetrator has touched. Unfortunately at this time the amount of time taken to analyze prints is approximately (6) months. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation conducts the examination of prints on a priority level with those obtained in violent crime scenes being first in priority.

How You Can Help

  • Talk to neighbors, friends, family members and co-workers regarding your case.
  • Provide a detailed description of items taken to investigator, especially any possibly serial numbers.
  • Search for and if missing, cancel any checks, credit cards, debit cards and cellular phones (Ask providers to notify you if items are fraudulently used).
  • Check with vendors for serial numbers of items that may have extended warranties.
  • Relay any hunches or suspicions to investigator assigned to your case.
  • Don't rule out friends, relatives and acquaintances, on average they account for possibly 45% of our reported crimes.

Auto Theft

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office investigates all motor vehicle thefts. This includes motorcycles, watercraft, ATVs and heavy equipment, insurance frauds, and related arsons.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office strives to work with other Law Enforcement Agencies in determining and identifying perpetrators of auto theft and insurance fraud.

Fire Investigations

Goals and objectives

  • Determine origin and cause of fires and explosions.
  • Protect life and property, using appropriate resources effectively, efficiently and equitably.
  • Arrest suspects with foremost regard for the law and community standards recognizing that as representatives and members of the Sheriff's Office, we are accountable for our actions.
  • Prevent crimes through partnerships with the citizens to reduce the threat and fear of arson thereby, enhancing the quality of life in our community.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office created the fire, arson and explosive investigative division during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. This unit was established as a result of incendiary fire losses gradual and consistent increase both nationally and within Hamilton County area.

Many of these fires were the direct results of "arson for profit" schemes by which defendants engaged in said activities to collect large sums of insurance proceeds from these destructive fire losses. Commercial fire losses were common and some exceeded over one (1) million dollars in insurance losses.

Over the past nineteen year period, many successful cases have been investigated and prosecuted in Hamilton County area as a result of vigorous investigative efforts and assistance provided by the Sheriff’s Office. The division works very closely with local, state and federal investigators in a collaborative effort to reduce incendiary fire losses, as well as reduce the loss of life and property associated with incendiary incidents.

The ongoing operational philosophy of this division is that fire kills, and every potential arsonist is a potential killer. Arson is classified as a part one offense by the Justice Department and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office will continue its aggressive enforcement effort in this area.


Criminal Investigations
6233 Dayton Boulevard
Chattanooga, TN 37343
Phone: (423) 209-8940
Fax: (423) 209-8878
Email: investigations@hcsheriff.gov

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©2014 Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office

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