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Why You Need Property Marking


Burglars like an easy life. When they enter a property they are usually looking for easily grabbed, valuable items that they can quickly resell. Their top target is, of course, cash, followed by jewellery and then electronics, camera and portable electrical items (such as games platforms). It’s therefore sensible to consider how to protect your tablets, smartphones, computers and other desirable items.

The police are actually very successful in recovering many hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stolen property from criminals, but these often can’t be returned to their rightful owners as they can’t be identified.

What is Property Marking?

The ability to trace the ownership of an item not only helps people get their property back but it also helps the police secure convictions.

Property marking refers to one of the simplest ways to protect possessions from theft. It involves applying a fixed label that identifies the ownership of the item. Labelling might be invisible, or highly visible.

Permanent property marking is often carried out by engraving or etching. Typically, a property postcode and name might be used. Almost any metal or plastic items can be engraved quite easily using an appropriate tool.

UV property marking pen and labels

Invisible marking is another common technique that’s used when visible marks might affect the value or aesthetic appearance of an item. UV marking pens are typically used and the police now check recovered stolen items to detect any concealed property markings.

Property to Mark

It’s good practice to mark up all valuable items in your home, garage, shed and garden. For example, lawn mowers and power tools are common targets for thieves as they can often be found outside the home.

Electrical items are favoured by thieves as they are easily resold. So make certain you have security marked all of these items:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptop computers
  • Games consoles
  • Cameras
  • MP3 players
  • TVs
  • Sound systems.

It can be very upsetting to lose personal items, antiques, artwork and musical instruments so it’s always a good idea to make certain these items are marked appropriately. And don’t overlook your jewellery and watches which thieves love to steal.

How to Mark Your Property

An important consideration to keep in mind when marking your property is whether you anticipate selling the item in the future.

Permanent property marking can be achieved using engraving or etching. Visible property markings can act as a very effective deterrent as thieves know they will not be able to resell the marked item. Metal items such as power tools, bikes and even motorcycle engines can be successfully protected using engraving. And these marking techniques are also highly effective on glass and ceramic items.

property marking and asset labels

Invisible but permanent property markings can be achieved using DNA marking, microdot marking or UV marking systems. These security marks can only be seen under UV light and by registering marked items they become traceable to the owner.

Labeling items is a semi-permanent, visible technique. Tamper resistant, semi-permanent labels act as an effective deterrent.

Police forces make various recommendations regarding what should be used as the property marking but typically they suggest a properties number along with the post code, or a persons name and post code.

datatag uv stealth etches

Register Your Property

While property marking is highly effective, in order for ownership to be determinable you need to register your property. Property details can be registered for free on the website which is used by nationwide police forces to identify stolen goods.

It’s also good practice to keep your own list of the items you have property marked.

Recommended Next Steps

If you have read this and now want to take steps to protect your valuables here are the next steps.

  1. Make a list of the items you want to property mark.
  2. Determine the most appropriate property marking technique to use for each.
  3. Acquire the most appropriate property marking products.
  4. Decide on your property mark and apply to each item, keeping a record of each.
  5. Record your property details on the website.

You might also display property marking warning labels that will tell any would-be thief that there is no point in stealing your property as it’s thoroughly marked.

If you have any questions regarding property marking and security remember that we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll give you some free, expert advice.

This message was added on Friday 8th November 2019


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