STUDENTS from the University of Birmingham living off-campus are actively involved in a new scheme using SelectaDNA’s hi-tech forensic marking system to protect their accommodation and personal possessions from theft.
The Safer Birmingham Partnership, which consists of several key agencies including West Midlands Police, Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Fire Service, is funding the scheme.
Austin Rodriguez, from Birmingham City Council, said: “The SelectaDNA scheme is centred around the Bournebrook area in Selly Oak which houses around 8,000 students in terraced housing.
“Selly Oak has suffered from high levels of burglary in the past and the Partnership was keen to find a solution that would not only help deter theft in the first instance but also reduce the fear of crime for students living in the area.
“We are encouraging the students to take an active role in marking their own belongings which include laptops, TVs, Wiis, mobile phones, iPods and bikes.”
The crime fighting kits contain a bottle of the SelectaDNA formula, which consists of an ultraviolet tracer and a unique DNA code. The clear liquid can be easily applied by the students to any personal item to identify it as belonging to them. If the item is stolen and later recovered by police, it can be scanned and traced back to the rightful owner via the DNA marking.
West Midlands Police have also been advising students to display the hi-visibility deterrent stickers that come with each kit on the windows and doors of their accommodation indicating that their property has been marked.
Mr Rodriguez continued: “We are also erecting 20 metal street signs which will clearly denote the area where SelectaDNA is being deployed and will be a firm warning to would-be thieves that they should stay away or run the risk of getting caught and arrested.”
Feedback from the students has been excellent. “We have heard back from members of the Student Union who are saying it is the ‘best project we have ever run’,” said Mr Rodriguez. “This is encouraging news for us, as we are determined to reduce theft and help keep our students safe in the process.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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