Did you know there’s a safe and easy way to convince a burglar to leave your house empty-handed – and you don’t even need to be home to do it?
It’s called property marking.
What Is Property Marking?
Property marking is putting some kind of mark on your possessions so that it is known that they belong to you.
My mom used to do something kind of similar when I was a kid by writing my name in black marker on the tag of my jacket – I may not have liked it, but it was a smart thing to do!
Burglars don’t want to steal marked property because the markings compromise its value and make it harder to re-sell.
And if they steal it anyway, the police are better able to eventually trace your stolen goods back to you later.
Choose the Type of Marking System That Suits Your Stuff
Because our valuables come in many shapes and sizes, and are made of different materials, there are several types of property marking methods available to use on them.
Labelling And Etching
Applying address labels to a non-visible surface is the easiest way to mark your things, especially large items.
The downside is that these labels may be too easy for burglars to remove, which is why etching is a good alternative that marks the item permanently.
Do-it-yourselfers may already have the tools for etching, but if you’re like me and don’t have much of a toolbox, there are kits and systems to simplify the process.
Companies like SelectaMark provide chemical etching systems that allow you to create stencils or tamper-resistant labels.
Items that you might want to use labelling or etching on:
- Sound systems
- Home and lawn furniture
- Home computers
Invisible Marking – An Attractive Alternative
But some of your possessions would lose their appeal if they were visibly marked up, wouldn’t they? I, for one, think my laptop looks a lot nicer blemish-free.
Ultraviolet marking pens, often sold in both stationery and security stores, provide a quick and effective way for marking objects with your contact information in an ink that can’t be seen by the naked eye.
It’s easy to use a UV pen, and that way the police can later identify your stolen items by running them under a black light, as this 60-second video from the Greater Manchester Police explains.
Marking Small Items With Microdots
For little or delicate objects, such as jewellery, The Crime Prevention Website recommends using microdots, noting that they “can be used to mark just about anything without damaging it.”
“Microdots are very tiny discs that are held in an adhesive solution in a container that resembles a nail varnish bottle,” the website explains. “You simply apply a small amount of the solution with a brush or spatula to the surface of the product and the job is done.
“Each microdot carries a unique code and database contact telephone number that has been printed on them many times.”
These dots are just barely visible, so they may not be noticed by burglars. But the identifying information on them can be viewed under a microscope once your stolen things are recovered by police.
If you’d like to get your own home kit, MicroDOT Australia sells them here.
Using Signs to Warn Burglars Your Items Are Marked
Invisible marking technology typically comes with stickers or signage that you can place strategically in your home so would-be burglars know your property is marked.
This way you can still head burglars off at the pass, even if they can’t see the markings.
See this example of one such a sticker for a DNA marking solution, which is another type of invisible marking technology that works much like microdots.
Following basic security measures like strong locks and home alarms, property marking is the last line of defence when it comes to keeping burglars from robbing you.
Among the methods available to you are:
- Using ultraviolet markers
- Applying microdots
- Utilizing DNA technology
Keep in mind that if you’re using one of the invisible marking methods, like UV or DNA, you should post signs alerting intruders that these deterrents are in place.
With your property marking measures in place, thieves are more likely to cancel their burglary plans since your valuables won’t have much re-sale value for them.
Want to avoid burglars entering your property in the first place?