What is Property Marking?
Property marking is where you put a mark on your property, so that it can be identified as yours. This deters a thief or burglar from stealing it, and helps you get it back if it is stolen (or even just lost).
How is it done?
There are several methods of marking property. The more basic methods such as UV (‘invisible’ ink) pens and engraving, whilst better than nothing, are less effective. The more modern methods using forensically-based and chemical etching products are much better.
The key is to use the method which is the best for the item being marked. Further advice on the best method can be sought from your local RMP Crime Prevention Officer.
What mark should I use?
The standard mark to be applied to an item for military personnel is the use of the letters MODUK, followed by the individual’s full service number. This can be used for all the family’s property.
For non-military personnel, there are other options:
If you have your own home in UK, the full postcode and the house number (ie, AB10 2CD - 23).
If not, you can use your Civil Service Staff Number and the letters MODUK.
You can use whatever marking you want, but it must be unique to you and the police need to be able to trace you by the marking, otherwise it’s pointless.
How do I record the details?
Your local RMP unit has a form called "CODED FOR KEEPS". This fully explains how to record the details. Once you have marked your property and recorded the details, you should keep the form in a safe place.
Is there anything else I need to do?
In order to be fully effective, you need to make sure that a potential thief or burglar knows that the property is marked. You can do this using stickers, signs etc which come with the property marking equipment.
It is also a good idea to photograph the items marked (alongside a ruler to show their size), and keep the photos with the form.
What are the advantages of Property Marking?
It may deter the thief from even trying to break in, but only if he sees the warning signs telling him it’s marked.
It helps to deter the thief from stealing your property even once he has broken in.
The thief risks being arrested after the event if caught in possession of identifiable property.
It makes it more difficult for the thief to sell the property on.
It provides the police with evidence that connects the criminal to the scene of the crime.
It improves the chances that the legal system will prosecute the thief.
It improves the chances that something you value will be returned.
The marks may be noticed by someone browsing in a place such as a second-hand shop or at a car boot sale who then calls the police.
Your insurer may offer a discount for having marked your property.
What’s the risk if I don’t do it?
As well as the risk of it being stolen, if stolen property is not marked, the police may have to give recovered property back to someone that they suspect stole it, because the real owner can’t be identified and the theft can’t be proved.
Where can I get the marking kits?
A selection of websites for some of the firms which provide these products is listed below:
Are the marking kits expensive?
- Not when you consider the costs of having your property stolen.
- Even if you are insured, there is a lot of stress and effort in making a claim.
- You may not be able to replace the stolen items; such as things of sentimental value (unique items of jewellery; or the family photos on your laptop).
- Even the more modern methods are now low-cost. For example, a kit big enough to mark the important property of a family, including the signs to show it is marked, are less than £40: well worth the cost when you consider what it can save you.
Mark your property - it can save you a lot of problems.
It is even more important when moving house, as we all do in the MoD.
Preventing crime is everyone’s business.