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Let's talk about crime

Welcome to our advice page.

Please read our advice to find out how to protect yourself against a number of crimes.

Let's talk about crime

For information about how to mark your property and keep your home secure, read our advice below and download our social media graphics and leaflets to share among your community.

  • Property marking

    Marking your property is a proven deterrent to thieves and may see your property returned to you if it is stolen.

    Marked property helps lead to convictions. Property that is marked is harder for thieves and burglars to sell on which deters them from stealing it in the first place.

    Across the county our second-hand shops work in partnership with us to make property ‘too hot to handle’.

    Too hot to handle

    How can I mark my property?

    Hidden property marking

    Hidden marking can be anything from UV pens to asset recording. The forensic markers require a UV light source for the marking to fluoresce and become visible. Forensic markers contain a trace marker that is unique to that registered owner. Forensic markers are identified under a UV light source, as seen in our video. Across the county, our officers in custody suites and staff members at second-hand shops thoroughly check property for markings and cross-reference it against records.

    Property marking

    Make sure you display the warning stickers provided with the forensic marker products as they are a proven deterrent. If you live in a community where multiple houses use a forensic marking product, you can seek permission from the council to put up additional street signage to warn off thieves.


    UV Pens and Sticker – widely available in shops or on the internet.

    UV pens provide the opportunity to mark your property with your postcode or other identifiable marks, which will only be visible with an UV light then making the item traceable. The packs often come with an inventory sheet to record valuable information.

    Smart Water

    SmartWater offer various forensic marking products, amongst which is a non-transferable home marking solution without microdots. Additionally there is a secure database where you can view your account and create an inventory of property. The householder may pay an annual subscription for this product. Once recovered, property, swabs or ‘scrapings’ are required to be sent away for laboratory examination.

    Selecta DNA

    Selecta DNA offers various forensic marking products, amongst which is a non-transferable home marking solutions with microdots as standard for marking. Additionally there is a secure database where you can view your account and create an inventory of property. The householder does not pay an annual subscription for this product. The microdot can be examined by Essex Police and the identifying number read then compared against the police accessible secure database to reveal ownership. Where the number is illegible property, swabs or ‘scrapings’ are required to be sent away for laboratory examination. 

    Asset Recording is another method where you record the details of your property either on your own recording sheet or database (but not kept with the relevant property) or on an ‘ISO’ accredited database. Your records should include a description of the article and where applicable model, serial and IMEI numbers. Display and use warning stickers provided by the asset recording company on the premises and on the marked products as they are a proven deterrent to thieves. Use photos, with a scale where needed, to help identify property. They can also be uploaded to some databases, for advice on photographing property visit our Essex Police Heritage Watch webpage.

    To record your property, use Immobilise.

    Immobilise can be used by members of the public and businesses to register your valued possessions or company assets, and exclusive to Immobilise all registered items and ownership details are viewable on the secure Police National Property Database (NMPR). This database also links to the publically accessible and second-hand shop database ‘Checkmend’ for restricted searches to establish if an item of property is stolen.

    Visible property marking

    To visibly mark your property you can engrave your item, write your post code on it with a permanent pen, stencil paint an organisation logo somewhere noticeable or use a ‘Cesar Data Tag’ for commercial plant machines.

    An example is ‘CREmark’ - CRE marking allows you to apply a visible security marking on your property, with the ‘paint pen provided’. It is advised to mark the property with a postcode and either the house number or first two letters of your house name which makes the item identifiable and traceable. This marking is then made permanent by coating the markings with CREMARK's specially formulated protective lacquer.

    For more information about how to keep your home and your property secure by marking them, visit:

    Download our social media graphics to share:

    Property marking

    Property marking

    Property marking

    Property marking

    Property marking

    Download our leaflet now:

    Property marking leaflet

Our crime prevention campaign is aimed at helping you stay safe throughout the year. You too can support it by downloading our social media posts and sharing them on your local community Facebook groups or on your own personal social media channels by using the hashtag #LetsTalkAboutCrime. You can also download and print or share our leaflets with friends, family, neighbours and local community groups.

Let's talk about crime

We would like to thank our community members for supporting our campaign.

Download our crime prevention booklet for more information.

You can also search Ask the Police for answers to over 900 common questions about policing, the law and civil issues.

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