In the third instalment of this three-part series, we explain how to mark and record your valuable household items to prevent them from theft.
Feeling safe and secure in your home is a right that should be shared by everyone. Unfortunately, it’s not a right than can always be guaranteed, which is why we’ve gone and put together these home security tips. Read on to find out how to keep your your treasured possessions – whether it’s a guitar, a laptop, or your prized pearl necklace – safe in the home, all the while staying one step ahead of the burglars. And for even greater security in the home, choose Home Emergency Cover from Best Price FS – for just £79 and with no excess, you’ll get cover for damage to your doors, locks and window repair, with cover for lost keys included as standard.
Etching, painting and permanent-marking
Marking your items can be done in a number of ways – whether it’s etching in your initials or painting on your postcode, permanent marks on an item will help keep it out of the hands of burglars. This technique helps to dissuade would-be burglars from lifting your stuff, as the value of the item will be greatly reduced with your marking on it. This will also make it more difficult for them to pass it off as a ‘new’ or second-hand item of legitimate provenance.
Aside from visible marking, there are also a number of police-approved forensic marking systems, such as SmartWater. You can register your items with groups such as this to better guarantee their safety. One such technique they use effectively creates a barcode for your item, using a unique chemical mixture which is painted on to the object.
The substance used will be waterproof when dry and fluorescent under UV light, and the particular chemical “barcode” will be registered to your item on a secure database. This means that, if your property is found, it’ll be easy for the police to then test it against the database and reunite you with it. This approach may be preferable for things like jewellery which you’re not so keen on marking visibly.
Photographing to scale
On top of marking your things, it’s also a good idea to take photos of each piece of property, especially if there are any distinct features which make them distinguishable from others of the same brand or model. For example, if it’s a beloved guitar that you’ve had for a while and which has some visible nicks in the body, make sure to keep detailed images of what and where these are. When photographing, place the items next to a ruler, measuring tape, or anything that can give a good representation of the item’s scale. Also make sure to keep a note of all the serial numbers of your possessions, such as phones, laptops or instruments.
Using built-in security features
The majority of UK adults now use a smartphone – as much as 76%, according to Deloitte. We should therefore be fairly well-accustomed to the built-in security features our devices feature, meaning that there’s no excuse to not use them. Keeping your device secure will prevent your personal information from being stolen too, and this goes for all your bits of tech – whether it’s your laptop, your desktop computer or your hand-held tablet. You should always make sure to use a secure password, and ideally not one that you’ve used elsewhere. Because of its in-built GPRS, your smartphone can also be tracked down if it’s lost or stolen. Depending on which operating system you use – Android, iOS or Windows Phone – you may have to download an app to set this up.
Combining all techniques
The tips above should help protect your things from being stolen, and should also help you reclaim them if they’re seized by the police. The best advice of all is to combine each of these approaches – forensic marking is great for identifying recovered goods, but this technique won’t necessarily act as a deterrent against theft. This is why leaving visible marks on your items will help ward off would-be burglars, and once again, make sure to keep anything of value well-documented and as safe and out of sight as possible.
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