Security Marking Improves the chances of recovering your stolen property, by assisting the police in their investigation and may provide valuable evidence, perhaps leading to a successful prosecution of the thieves.
Security marking is your unique national reference. It provides the only chance that your property will be returned to you, should it be stolen and subsequently recovered.
Marking property should consist of your house number (or the first three letters of your house name) and your postcode.
Always mark your valuables in a prominent position to deter potential thieves and check the security markings at least every 12 months.
Various Methods of Marking Property are Available and Include:-
- Ultra-Violet invisible marking pen – Use this method if you are concerned that visible marking might look unsightly or devalue your item. When dry the ink is virtually invisible.
- Permanent visible marker pen – From a prevention point of view, its better if your possessions are visibly marked and can be seen by the burglar, so that he then realises it is going to be difficult to sell. Special markers are available for fine china and porcelain, which leave an indelible deposit on top of the glaze and therefore should not adversely affect the value.
- Labels, plates and stickers – A range of plates, labels and stickers glued or chemically bonded to the item. They should contain sufficient information to identify the owner, or the register where such details are held.
- Engraving, chemical etching and stamping – involves the security marking of an item by machine or chemicals to the extent that removal involves disfigurement of the item. You could use a hobby engraver or diamond tipped stylus to visibly mark items.
- Radio frequency identification tags (RF/id) – The implanting of a small device containing an aerial and a microchip containing information. A scanning device uses radio waves to read the information contained within the tag.
- Chemical trace – The use of unique chemical compounds registered to a particular owner and painted onto items. Forensic examination identifies the chemical code and thus the owner.
- Tracking devices – Devices which either locate themselves by reference to aerials or satellites and transmit the information, or which transmit a fixed code which is detected by scanners and cross bearings to fix the position.
- Micro Dots – There are some new innovative products available for marking property, such as Alpha-Dot; 1000s of micro dots are suspended in a clear adhesive. Each dot bears a serial number, unique to that batch. You can apply it to virtually any product and any surface. Use it on fine china, antiques, electrical goods, jewellery, vehicles etc.
- Registration databases – Commercial operations which register a customer’s property against serial or code numbers, or register stolen property. Registers may be item specific (caravans, computers, plant.) business specific (all assets for a particular company or local authority) or general (home or commercial insurance cover).
Such databases must adhere to the highest standards and operators should be able to answer reasonable questions e.g.
Is the information held securely and kept up-to-date?
What standards does the company meet? For example LPS 1224 and LPS 1225.
- Photographic databases – Hard-copy or computer held photographic records with owner details of works of art, antiques or other valuables. Ideal for items, which are not suitable for other methods due to their value and the potential damage to the item.
New technology is regularly being developed for security purposes, such as the following:-
Biometrics. The use of biological data related to the owner – such as DNA, facial analysis, retina recognition.
Optical memory. CD ROM digital technology to hold information.
Fingerprint. Use of personal fingerprint identification linked to a database.
All of your items should have a secure and visible mark that identifies that the item belongs to you and once security marked, you should take photographs of the most valuable items and keep a record of serial numbers.
It is a good idea to contact your insurance company to confirm that they are happy with the method of security marking you intend to employ.