By Calvin at 09:25 GMT, 5 years ago
Twenty eight residences in a street in Highbridge (7 miles north of Bridgewater in Somerset) are among the first in the South-West to receive DNA property marking kits as part of a new anti-burglary scheme. The packs were handed out by police officers in an effort to help people keep their homes and their belongings safe and deter thieves.
The kits contain a forensic property marking system, which could link burglars to a crime scene and thus provide evidence to help convict the criminal.
According to the article about this in ‘This is the Westcountry’ on-line newspaper, criminals are regularly scanned for traces of the DNA in police custody suites.
The article goes on to say that police forces up and down the country are now using these kits to reduce burglaries, theft, robberies, vehicle crime and metal theft and they have reduced theft by up to 85% in some areas.
Burnham and Highbridge Police Community Support Officer Pete Williams said: “We are pleased that over 300 homes here have now received crime prevention advice since July after an increase in burglaries in the early part of this year.”
TCPW Comment Those of you who visit this website will know only too well that I support property marking 100%. We have a huge section on the subject starting here, so why am I passing comment?
Several reasons really....
- First of all it is physical security and home alarm systems that are the main deterrents to burglars as evidenced by a British Crime Survey and other studies. It is important that any advice given to residents about marking their property also includes advice about securing their homes. Hopefully this is the case.
- I know for a certain fact that just because DNA forensic marking signs have been placed at the ends of a street to warn the burglars doesn’t mean that any of the residents have marked their property. My own street carried signs for a full 12 months and not one household was given a kit or the option of purchasing one. I suspect there are agreements in place not to do this, but if my street is anything to go by then not all of these initiatives are working in the way they should be.
- In spite of property marking being promoted since the early 1980s very few people have ever bothered. After 3,183 completed Home Security Surveys conducted on this website I can report that only 20.9% have marked their property (in some way). This figure will be artificially high as the people who conduct the surveys have a particular interest in the subject. This finding makes me wonder how many of the 28 residences in this street will actually do the marking.
- Certainty of marking and searching for marks must surely be essential component parts of this initiative. The news article’s claim of up to 85% reduction in crime elsewhere in the country is very impressive and so one wonders what evaluation will be taking place to see how this particular initiative performs. It would be useful to know how many times the police service has recovered marked property and how many times this has resulted in a prosecution.