The Crime Prevention Website


Property scanners

Neighbourhood Watch and Home Watch co-ordinators and those in business or government agencies that are responsible for property assets might be interested to learn that you can buy scanners to automatically read serial numbers and barcodes on mobile phones and other electrical devices and upload them onto a laptop.  From here they can be uploaded to Immobilise and other databases. 

For Neighbourhood Watch schemes this sort of equipment is extremely useful if you are conducting a property marking campaign in your watch area, because you can do lots of recording very quickly.  Many police forces are already using these devices to identify stolen property in the street. 

Property tracking


A large number of PCs and laptops bought today will be supplied with a security module embedded into the BIOS.  If you install the software supplied with the computer and pay for the tracking and recovery service, your computer can be traced if it is stolen.

Basically, if your laptop is stolen you contact the tracking company and then wait.  When your stolen laptop is used on the internet for the first time after its theft the computer will signal the tracking company to inform them that it’s alive and well.  The tracking company will then start to examine the computer and will be able to tell what it’s being used for, who’s got it and most importantly where it is.

Once they have established where it is they will contact the police and, with evidential paperwork already prepared by the tracking company, the police will be able to obtain a search warrant and recover the computer.

The time it takes to find your computer and to recover it will be determined by a number of factors, including the time it takes for it to be used on the internet by the thief or by the person who has bought it and the time it takes for the Internet Service Provider to provide the subscriber’s address.  If the laptop is connecting to the internet via an insecure wireless network then it could take longer to identify who the user is, but it can still be done.  Needless to say that all this goes on without the computer user knowing about it.

You can also ask the tracking company to download your files from the computer and or delete them, a particularly attractive service for businesses and government agencies that may have had the computer stolen for the information on it, rather than for the value of the computer. 

Other property tracking products 

Further information to be prepared