SCHOOLS have always been prime targets for thieves thanks to the wide range of audio, video and ICT equipment that lies within their walls. Likely targets for theft include computers and laptops, whiteboards, data projectors, sports equipment and other electronic items.
Any instance of theft at school not only affects the individuals concerned but can also disrupt classes, the school itself, and the surrounding community. To overcome this growing threat, a hi-tech forensic product called SelectaDNA is currently being used by over a 1,000 schools in the UK.
SelectaDNA is a clear, water-based adhesive containing a unique DNA identity signature. Marketed by Selectamark Security Systems, SelectaDNA is the only secure DNA system with a locked-in code which means it cannot be replicated or de-coded.
As a police-approved product, SelectaDNA has already been used in police mass-marking schemes and has been proven to reduce theft and burglaries by up to 85 per cent.
Jason Brown, head of business development at Selectamark, said: “SelectaDNA is proving increasingly popular for the permanent marking of expensive items of school property. The product can be applied directly onto school equipment in order to irrefutably mark the items, making them immediately less attractive to thieves as they would be harder to sell on.
“If an item is stolen and then recovered by police, the DNA marking will indicate which school it belongs to. Permanent marking can be carried out in schools safely, accurately, and at a very reasonable cost.”
SelectaDNA dries within a minute and is visible using an ultra violet lamp. On light coloured surfaces it is possible to see microdots which have also been introduced into the product. Each dot shows an owner registration code and the database telephone number which will enable the identification of a marked item. It is virtually impossible to remove traces of SelectaDNA and identification can be made from tiny specks the size of a pin head.
A 60ml bottle of SelectaDNA can be used to mark up to 100 items, and can be applied in less than 15 minutes. The product is also available in larger sizes suitable for the education sector, including kits that can mark 1,000 items.
One area where SelectaDNA has proved effective is Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey. A number of schools in the area were recently marked using SelectaDNA kits.
Detective Inspector Clarke from Kingston police said: “Kingston Police, in conjunction with the Royal Borough of Kingston Partnership have been happy to offer SelectaDNA to all schools within the Borough. It’s easy to use, a good deterrent to thieves, and is non toxic, therefore not harmful to children. Burglaries in schools have fallen by 47% since the implementation of SeclectaDNA, when compared to the same period last year.”
James Brown, sales director at Selectamark concluded: “Thefts from schools are generally committed by opportunists. One of the first steps in preventing theft is to reduce the reward associated with the act. Thieves are now aware that SelectaDNA is making their job much harder – and as a result we are finding that is proving to be a very effective deterrent in itself.”