THREE months after the introduction of an anti-looting scheme using SelectaDNA to protect flood-affected properties in West Cumbria, there have been ZERO burglaries reported.
Police patrols have been helping to keep towns such as Cockermouth and Keswick safe by handing out forensic property marking kits, partly funded by the Cumbria Community Foundation Flood Recovery Fund.
West Cumbria Community Safety Officers have issued SelectaDNA to over 1,000 flood-affected householders to mark valuables including tools, electrical equipment and jewellery. It has had the immediate effect of target-hardening properties and reducing the fear of crime in the area.
Inspector Joe Murray, of West Cumbria Community Safety Team, said: “This campaign has been a massive success for us and SelectaDNA has been the vital element of crime prevention. It has decisively deterred looters and there have been no burglaries reported in flood-affected homes protected by DNA.”
The main purpose of the scheme was to try and prevent the problems that occurred after the flooding in Carlisle in 2005, where incidents of burglary rose by 30-35%.
Inspector Murray said: “I really feel it is the simplicity of SelectaDNA that has made the campaign so effective. Residents quickly understand how to use it and have been keen to protect their household items.
“We have also used deterrent signs supplied by Selectamark to highlight the fact that the area is protected and have deployed our own 3-D Tri-Signs, which can be affixed to lamp posts and are highly visible from three sides.”
Using deterrent signage leaves a potential burglar in no doubt that they are taking a big risk committing crime in areas that are protected by forensic marking.
“The scheme is now moving onto the next stage of development, where flood-damaged properties are being refurbished,” said Inspector Murray. “We will be using SelectaDNA to protect properties that are empty and vulnerable.”
He concluded: “We really feel that this scheme could be used as a template to very good effect by any police force nationwide for any similar crime prevention initiative.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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