Protecting Your Property by Security Marking

Protecting Your Property by Security Marking

Property marking is an internationally accepted means of rendering your property identifiable both to yourself and the police. In the United Kingdom this is effected by using the postcode of the premises to which the property belongs, together with the name or part of the name.

We recommend that every item of value (where practicable) is marked to ensure that it can be returned to you if recovered after being stolen.

It is also useful to place small notices in the building to the effect that all your property is marked. Casual visitors may not notice these but the potential criminal will. Property marking is a quick, do-it-yourself task, costing very little. The following methods may be used:-

Ultraviolet Marking Pens

This is an ultraviolet, fibre-tip pen, obtainable from most large stationers. The mark is invisible until viewed under an ultraviolet lamp. It is advisable to mark on the most porous area where it is likely to be handled least and also where it is least likely to be exposed to direct sunlight. Sunlight has the effect of causing such marks to fade after a period of about eighteen months. Therefore, it is advisable to re-mark property after this period.

The advantage of this type of marking is that the criminal is unable to see it himself and thereby will not take steps to remove it. It also does not affect any resale value and for this reason is suitable for electrical goods and other items you may wish to sell. The disadvantage is that it is not visible, which limits the deterrent effect. The thief knows he will have no problems in selling it on to innocent purchasers.


Marks can be engraved by use of a diamond-tipped pen, other sharp pointed tools or by an electric engraver. A stencil is often used to ensure neatness when the mark can only be placed in an obvious position. Stencils also allow relatively small lettering, which is not always the case with freehand. Any metal or plastic items can be marked and the value is not affected if done by someone trained in this technique, such as a jeweller. Glassware can also be engraved but you are advised to consult a professional in this case.

Ceramic Markers

“Ceramic” or “titanium” pens can be obtained from specialist stores and are effective on ceramic surfaces. Marks have the appearance of faint pencil marks and are impossible to remove without damaging the ceramic surface.


Branding is a method of marking which may be good for wooden items.

DNA / Forensic Coding Systems


SelectaDNA offers businesses a highly effective way to protect both their valuable contents and the building itself. SelectaDNA acts as a superb theft deterrent, as criminals know that it links them to crimes they commit and by erecting warning signs, your business immediately becomes a hard target.

SelectaDNA Forensic Property Marking kits are ideal to mark valuable equipment, both quickly and safely – the water-based adhesive dries clear so will not damage or deface any item. The solution contains a UV Tracer and unique synthetic DNA code. This means that every item you mark will have your unique Forensic Code on, and allow Police to trace the item back to you through forensic analysis should the item be stolen.

SelectaDNA is a Police Preferred Product, and it is sold by Selectamark Security Systems plc – a family-owned business and experts in crime prevention products since 1985.

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Smartwater is one of the leading forensic coding system with a proven track record of reducing crime. It carries a unique forensic signature more robust than DNA and proves the ownership of any item, linking the criminal with the crime scene to enable prosecution and a conviction. Smartwater is used by 95% of UK police forces who are actively searching for it, for example at scrap metal dealers, and as such is the one of the most powerful deterrents available. A long term nationwide publicity campaign means that criminals know about Smartwater, they know that the police are looking for it and they fear the fact that it can be used to convict them. Smartwater can be applied to interior and exterior metals, along with any other valuables. When subjected to ultraviolet light its presence is immediately obvious by a tell-tale fluorescent glow. The smallest amount is enough for forensic scientists to verify the registered owner.

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Red Web

Red Web is a dye that contains a unique biosynthetic DNA that is registered to the customer. It is painted on surfaces that, when touched by thieves, marks them with a highly visible red dye. It also contains an ultra-violet element that becomes stronger as the dye fades and washes out. The unique registered element that becomes stronger as the dye fades and washes out. The unique registered DNA in each system used in the crime is matched through analysis to provide solid evidence and gain a conviction. Red Web is available as a gel, grease and spray.

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Acknowledgement: Congregational & General Insurance plc.

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