Burglaries in Essex have fallen by half in Essex in the last three years. Investigating burglaries, protecting our rural and urban communities and catching criminals is what we do at Essex Police. However there are simple things we can all do to make our homes and businesses even safer.
Marking your property
Ownership over property can sometimes be difficult to determine. By marking or registering your valuables, should the worst happen, and your items are stolen, when they are recovered there can be no dispute over who owns them.
They will be clearly marked or registered to you.
Items to property mark
You should consider marking any item that is of value to you either financially or sentimentally. Key items to consider are:
Electronics - TVs, laptops, mobile phones, games consoles, music devices.
Equipment - tools, bikes, and other sporting equipment.
Valuables - watches, bags, or ornaments
Making your mark
Once you have identified the items you want to mark, the next thing to consider is the best method to use for marking each item. Items might require a different method depending on their material, as you want to make sure that the mark is not easily removed.
When adding a mark, it should be clear and easy to identify. For example, you can use your house number and postcode e.g. 367 CM2
There are a wide range of property marking products available, a few examples are:
Ultraviolet (UV) pens – these can only be seen when a UV light is shined onto the item. These are easy to use and very discreet, but they do need to be reapplied as they can wear off over time or under extreme heat.
Engraving – is a good method to use when marking a bike or a metal object.
Semi-permanent labels – these are a good visible deterrent and can be glued on with special tamper-proof glue.
SmartWater and SelectaDNA - these are forensic solutions that can be seen under ultraviolet light. Each batch of the liquid solution contains millions of tiny fragments which create has a unique identifying code this is then used to identify its registered owner.
You can also register your valuables to help protect them. When you purchase a new expensive electrical device, the company might offer this to you. There is also a free national database that is widely used by police forces.
Immobilise is the free-to-use national register of possession ownership details. You can register a variety of items with them once you have set up your account. Depending on the item being registered, you would need a few basic details such as: make, model, description, serial number, or reference number.
Registering your property will also help if you need to report an item stolen or make an insurance claim. Find out more on the Immobilise website.
If your phone is stolen, you can use this ID to block it.
You can also download ‘find your phone’ apps to find your phone and more importantly wipe the data stored on it.
Keeping a record
We would recommend keeping your own records of the property marking or registration details, plus any unique identifiers for the items and even a photo.
Photos not only help us identify items if they are found, but they can also be used to help find stolen items through media appeals, especially if they are unique.
We would recommend taking photos of valuables like jewellery, antiques, or things of sentimental value. For smaller items include an “Object ID card” or ruler in the photograph to give people an idea of its size.
Whichever property marking method you choose, remember to use window stickers to advertise the fact that you have marked and registered your possessions. This will help deter any thieves.
For advice on how to stay safe and protect your home, yourself, your business and your vehicles from crime, please visit our crime prevention pages.