Break-ins at over 60 schools in Wolverhampton have plummeted by more than 70% following the use of DNA forensic marking kits to protect valuable ICT equipment from theft.
Wolverhampton City Council eServices team funded the use of SelectaDNA forensic marking kits to schools to which they supply ICT equipment including Merridale Primary School and Stow Heath Primary School.
The crime reduction scheme was launched a year ago (March 2016) and was backed by West Midlands Police following a spate of burglaries at school premises. The initiative involved marking electronic equipment including computers and iPads supplied to 61 local schools. It has reduced break-ins by an impressive 71%.
More than 20 schools were not supported with DNA kits and crime subsequently doubled in those schools over the same time period. This indicates that thieves left DNA-marked schools alone but targeted those that weren’t protected.
SelectaDNA is a substance which can invisibly mark valuable items such as laptops, iPads and iPhones without affecting their value. It contains a unique code that when scanned relates to a corresponding record on a secure database.
Criminals know about forensic marking and fear its ability to forensically link them with the scene of a crime. Marking valuable assets and advertising this fact with deterrent warning signage sends out a clear message to any potential thieves or burglars operating in the area and deters them from targeting the premises.
There had been 14 school break-ins in Wolverhampton in the previous 12 months before the project started. PC Diane Shepherd, West Midlands Police, said: “Although the number of school break-ins was relatively low, the value of the thefts was high due to the amount of equipment stolen.”
She continued: “My colleague and I provided training to the eServices team on how best to mark the equipment at qualifying locations. This was carried out between March and August last year.”
“The deterrent aspect (of SelectaDNA) appears to have been a great success,” confirmed PC Shepherd.
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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