Property marking is an internationally accepted means of rendering your property identifiable both to yourself and the police. In the United Kingdom this is affected by using the postcode of the premises to which the property belongs, together with the name or part of the name.
We recommend that every item of value (where practicable) within your place of worship is marked and a photograph is taken. The purpose of marking property in this manner is to ensure that it can be returned to you if recovered after being stolen.
It is also useful to place small notices in the building to the effect that all your property is marked. Casual visitors may not notice these, but the potential criminal will. Property marking is a quick, do-it-yourself task, costing very little. The following methods may be used:
Ultraviolet marking pens
This is an ultraviolet, fibre-tip pen, obtainable from most large stationers. The mark is invisible until viewed under an ultraviolet lamp. It is advisable to mark on the most porous area where it is likely to be handled least and where it is least likely to be exposed to direct sunlight. Sunlight has the effect of causing such marks to fade after a period of about eighteen months. Therefore, it is advisable to re-mark property after this period.
The advantage of this type of marking is that the criminal is unable to see it himself and thereby will not take steps to remove it. It also does not affect any resale value and for this reason is suitable for electrical goods and other items you may wish to sell.
The disadvantage is that it is not visible, which limits the deterrent effect. The thief knows he will have no problems in selling it on to innocent purchasers.
Engraving your property
Marks can be engraved by use of a diamond-tipped pen, other sharp pointed tools or by an electric engraver. A stencil is often used to ensure neatness when the mark can only be placed in an obvious position. Stencils also allow relatively small lettering, which is not always the case with freehand. Any metal or plastic items can be marked, and the value is not affected if done by someone trained in this technique, such as a jeweller. Glassware can also be engraved but you are advised to consult a professional in this case.
“Ceramic” or “titanium” pens can be obtained from specialist stores and are effective on ceramic surfaces. Marks have the appearance of faint pencil marks and are impossible to remove without damaging the ceramic surface.
Branding is a method of marking which may be good for wooden items.
DNA / Forensic coding system
SelectaDNA offers churches a highly effective way to protect both its valuable contents and the building itself. SelectaDNA acts as a superb theft deterrent, as criminals know that it links them to crimes they commit and by erecting warning signs, your church immediately becomes a hard target.
SelectaDNA forensic property marking kits are ideal to mark valuable equipment and artefacts inside the church, both quickly and safely - The water-based adhesive dries clear so will not damage or deface any item. The solution contains a UV Tracer and unique synthetic DNA code. This means that every item you mark will carry your churches unique forensic code and this allows police to trace the item back to you through forensic analysis should the item be stolen.
Data is held on a LPCB and insurance approved database and there are NO Annual Licence Fees.
SelectaDNA is a Police Preferred Product and it is sold by Selectamark Security Systems plc – a family-owned business and experts in crime prevention products since 1985.
For more information visit https://www.selectadna.co.uk/
Smartwater is one of the leading forensic coding systems. It carries a unique forensic signature more robust than DNA and proves the ownership of any item, linking the criminal with the crime scene to enable prosecution and a conviction.
Smartwater can be applied to interior and exterior metals, along with any other valuables. When subjected to ultraviolet light its presence is immediately obvious by a tell-tale fluorescent glow. The smallest amount is enough for forensic scientists to verify the registered owner. For more information visit http://www.smartwater.com
Red Web is a dye that contains a unique biosynthetic DNA that is registered to the customer. It is painted on surfaces that, when touched by thieves, marks them with a highly visible red dye. It also contains an ultra-violet element that becomes stronger as the dye fades and washes out. The unique registered DNA in each system used in the crime is matched through analysis to provide solid evidence and gain a conviction. For more information visit www.redwebsecurity.com
Making a record
In addition to marking property you are advised to take a photograph of any valuable item. It will enable photographs and a description to be circulated in trade and police publications, as well as assisting with your insurance claim and identification if the item is found. We recommend you keep a file of these photographs and review your inventory at least annually.
Photographing property may be undertaken by a keen amateur or by specialists in this service. Items should be photographed against a neutral background with a ruler alongside to indicate actual size. Wherever possible, hallmarks and any other identification marks should be photographed.
One person should have responsibility of creating an inventory of all items in your place of worship. Anything of value that can be moved should be included. If in doubt record it, your knowledge of what is valuable may not be as good as the criminals’.
Measures items accurately and record all signs of damage such as scratches, dents, splits, tears and any other blemish and imperfection. These records should be electronically stored and backed-up or if they are handwritten the record should be kept in one book, which should be stored in a safe place away from the church. The items should be checked every month by the responsible person and records updated accordingly. Any losses should be immediately reported to the police. Any items purchased or presented to you should immediately be added to the contents of the book.