OVER 30 schools and more than 250 homes in the Rochford district of Essex are being protected by SelectaDNA forensic marking, following a concerted drive to reduce burglary by a dedicated Police Community Support Officer.
In a scheme funded by Rochford District Community Safety Partnership, PCSO Laura Merrell from Hockley Neighbourhood Policing Team has single-handedly distributed SelectaDNA property marking kits to nearly all the primary and secondary schools on her patch, as well as to residents of targeted homes in the area.
SelectaDNA comes in a kit containing a bottle of DNA solution that can be easily applied to any items of value. The unique DNA code in the solution links each item to an individual school, home or business. It doesn't damage the marked items in any way. SelectaDNA has been proven to reduce burglary as criminals fear the power of forensic marking, making it a highly effective deterrent.
Since the scheme started six months ago (May 2010), there have been ZERO school break-ins reported and only one burglary from a house that had NOT used SelectaDNA in an exclusive street in Rayleigh. The neighbouring homes that had used DNA marking and had also placed burglar deterrent warning stickers (that are supplied with the kits) in their windows were left untouched.
PCSO Merrell said: “Once we received the funding I was determined to make sure that people knew that the SelectaDNA kits were available and I worked hard to get the kits out into the community.”
Rochford District Council produced a leaflet about the kits that was sent to residents of streets that had been targeted by burglars in the past.
PCSO Merrell continued: “I then called door-to-door to deliver the SelectaDNA kits and many of the residents were very keen to be given something that would protect their valuable items of property.”
The scheme is ongoing and PCSO Merrell is still delivering kits to streets identified as being at high risk of burglary. Meanwhile, she says that schools in the area have been particularly receptive to SelectaDNA.
“The schools have been great and have been marking anything possible – laptops, photocopiers, whiteboards, digital cameras, fax machines, printers, even telephones,” said PCSO Merrell.
“Feedback has been excellent, with all of them saying how easy SelectaDNA is to use. Most of them have been very happy to co-operate in the scheme as they know it will target-harden their school premises and make a break-in a much less attractive prospect to thieves who will be unsure what they will be able to get away with.”
The Chair of the Community Safety Partnership, Councillor Mrs Lesley Butcher, said: “The theft of equipment can be devastating for a school. I am delighted that we have been able to extend the distribution of the kits to provide schools with a further level of protection.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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