POLICE in Southend are planning to stay one step ahead of burglars as they introduce SelectaDNA property marking kits to the Essex seaside resort.
The kits, which allow residents to permanently mark their valuables, have been funded by Southend’s Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) and are being distributed initially to previous victims of burglary.
When the scheme launched recently, pensioner Michael Bower, a resident of Westcliff in Southend, was the first grateful recipient of a SelectaDNA kit, after he was burgled at home in November.
Each kit includes a clear DNA solution that is used to mark personal possessions such as TVs, laptops, garden items including lawnmowers and tools, and smaller valuables like jewellery. The solution contains ultra violet tracers (which can be detected by a UV scanner) and microdots, each with an owner code unique to that kit. The kits can link a criminal to a crime scene and provide an unbreakable chain of evidence for police.
Police now scan all recovered items for SelectaDNA markings and if found, they can quickly trace where an item was stolen from by checking the owner’s code against a secure database.
The kits come with window stickers and signs for residents to display to warn potential thieves that their homes are secured with SelectaDNA. ‘Thieves Beware’ street signs are also being erected in designated areas in Southend.
Acting DI Mark Tyler has been involved in introducing this latest crime prevention scheme to Southend.
He said: “SelectaDNA is a highly effective deterrent to burglars as they will not want to steal items which, if found in their possession, would link them irrefutably to a crime scene.”
He continued: "Initially, the kits will be offered to residents who have been victims of burglary, which as such a strong deterrent should provide great reassurance. In the unlikely event they are a victim again in the future, they stand a much better chance of having their possessions returned to them.
“We will also be issuing the kits to homes within our burglary hotspot areas which will be accompanied by high visibility street signs.”
Simon Ford, who manages the CDRP, said: “Burglary can have a devastating effect on its victims, where they may be made to suddenly feel unsafe in their own homes. It is for this reason that we wanted to invest in this highly acclaimed product, to help provide some peace of mind to previous burglary victims.
“Also by marking property within burglary hotspot areas, we are sending a very clear message that Southend will not sit back and simply react to burglaries after they happen, but we will work together to take positive action to prevent them.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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