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Surrey residents are being encouraged to help police ‘Beat the Burglar’ through the use of forensic marking products as part of a new campaign that will run throughout September.
The campaign aims to give crime reduction advice for members of the public and businesses and target offenders to deter them from committing offences.
Surrey Police has teamed up with SelectaDNA, a company that specialises in forensic marking products, to offer residents discount vouchers on marking kits and will be taking part in a number of roadshows across the county over the next month.
In addition, Crime Reduction Advisors will also be touring Surrey’s streets in a Vauxhall Corsa, sponsored by SelectaDNA, which has been transformed with the campaign’s logo emblazoned on the doors and bonnet to give out handy tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.
Forensic marking products can be used on everyday household items and each bottle contains a unique code which is registered with the manufacturer and conclusively proves ownership.
Once applied, the forensic marking is almost impossible to remove and almost invisible to the naked eye, but can be viewed under UV light. It can help link criminals to crime scenes, improve the likelihood of convictions and increase the chance of stolen goods being returned to their rightful owner as well as being an excellent deterrent.
Each home property marking kit contains high-visibility warning labels and window stickers to advise that property at the address has been security marked.
This acts as a deterrent to would-be offenders and other forces have seen huge reductions in burglary rates when forensic marking has been used in hotspot areas.
Businesses can also benefit from UV forensic marking products through the use of dye spray systems which can be installed in their premises. Should a burglar break into their property, the spray system is triggered and releases an invisible spray, which under UV light will immediately become visible.
It stays on clothes and skin for months, you can’t wash it off and it can link a criminal to the scene of a burglary.
Surrey Police has permanent UV lights fitted at its four custody suites in Woking, Staines, Guildford and Reigate under which all suspects who come into custody are routinely screened to show if they have been contaminated with any forensic dye.
As part of the campaign Surrey Police will be direct mailing some residents and warning would-be offenders in Surrey with a series of billboards and posters at various points across the county.
Temporary Detective Superintendent Ian Chandler said: "Burglary is often an opportunist crime which causes misery for those who fall victim to it and Surrey Police is committed to finding ways to tackle it.
"This campaign is a warning to burglars that we will use all methods at our disposal to track them down and they may already be ‘marked’.
"Forensic marking’s main strength is its deterrent value. The fear factor comes into play as burglars are aware that forensic property marking is helping police to convict criminals. It has been proven that they are staying away from homes and belongings which are forensically protected.
"Marking your property is easy to do, doesn’t damage your belongings and can prove beyond doubt that an item is yours.
"This campaign aims to raise awareness and remind the public of the steps they can take to avoid becoming a burglary victim while warning criminals we will continue to target them.
"Our message to burglars is keep looking over your shoulders as it may only be a matter of time before we catch up with you."
Visitors to the ‘Beat the Burglar’ roadshows will be offered burglary prevention tips, a chance to enter a competition to win a home security kit and the opportunity to learn about security marking your property.
They will be taking place throughout September at 12 locations across the county with the first being at Sainsbury's in Bridge Way, Cobham this Wednesday (September 8) between 10am and 2pm.
For a full list of locations and times and for further information on the campaign visit www.surrey.police.uk/beattheburglar