How To Mark Your Property To Prevent Theft
Marking your property is one of the most simple and effective
ways of protecting your possessions.
- For a start, property marking puts burglars off because it
lets others know that the item has been stolen, making it much
more difficult to sell. The other big advantage is that it makes
tracing and returning your stolen property a lot easier for the
- The police say that there are two main types of property
marking: the first is known as permanent marking, when you
engrave or "punch" your property with your street number and zip
code. Inexpensive permanent marking kits can be bought from most
- Make sure you engrave with a fine drill or sharp pointed
tool, and use a template or stencil to keep it neat and tidy.
Punching is a form of permanent marking that is done with a
hammer and a set of punches bearing numbers and letters. This
method is good for bicycles, mowers, engines, or other sturdy
metal objects, but don't use this on aluminum as it's easily
damaged. Of course, you could just improvise and scratch your
zip code on it with a sharp object, depending on how happy you
expect to be with the final appearance.
- Invisible marking is the other method of property marking.
This is best for antiques or valuable property that would lose
value if spoiled by permanent marking. Police usually check
stolen property with a special ultra-violet lamp, so an
ultra-violet (UV) marker pen should be used. Just as for
permanent marking, use your postcode and mark again if you move.
The police say that it is important to remember that UV marking
fades and will need to be renewed every so often.
- Most police forces run schemes that let you borrow a UV or
ceramic marker and you can buy them at most hardware stores.
However, in some cases, chemicals can be used to remove
invisible marking, and as it fades quickly, you should remember
to regularly update your markings.
- Although you can't see it with the naked eye, invisible
marking can still be a deterrent to burglars, but you must let
them know you've done it by using a sticker from the police
saying, "property in this hime has been marked". Contact your
local police for more details about this.
- When it comes to deciding which items to mark, the answer is
"up to you". Think about what you value the most and what might
be attractive to thieves. The truth is almost anything can be a
target for theft, so why not mark everything.
- It's worth keeping a property list or inventory of all your
household possessions, and be sure to mark the things that you
own as you compile your list, including items kept in your shed
- Finally, where your property is marked is important,
especially if engraving or punching. The chances are you'll want
to keep the mark out of site, so try marking underneath or
around the back of the item. The most important thing to
remember is to choose a surface that can't be removed without
spoiling the basic appearance or performance of the item. If
thieves can't remove your mark without breaking your property,
then it's worthless and they probably won't want it.
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