How Smart Water is 'flushing out' crooks in Staffordshire
CRIME-FIGHTING residents are using the latest forensic technology to combat would-be thieves in their community.
More than 100 families in Packmoor have been invited by Staffordshire Police to use 'SmartWater' to mark their belongings.
The solution was offered to residents at a discount price of just £10 during a meeting with officers in Blackbird Way.
They hope the technology will help improve officers' success in tracking down stolen goods after a rise in thefts from cars and houses in the area.
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Sergeant Phillip Ferns, from the Stoke-on-Trent North local policing team, said: "We were keen to implement it into an area that would benefit from SmartWater, along with other tactics that we have in place.
"We noticed there had been an increase in the number of thefts and felt this would complement our other approaches."
Police were given enough material to hand out 100 kits at the event.
And after working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Packmoor Residents' Association they were able to get the price down from £69 to £10.
Sgt Ferns said: "So far one third of the kits have been handed out and we will hand the rest out in the coming weeks."
Residents are each given a SmartWater marking kit that is similar in size to a lip gloss.
They then dip the applicator into it and onto their valuable property and, if stolen, it will show up under an ultraviolet light in order to identify the real owner.
No two SmartWater solutions have the same forensic code, meaning that marked items can be traced back to where they came from, as long as the solution applied has been registered.
This also means that criminals can be linked with crime scenes and makes it easier for police to build a convincing case in order to prosecute offenders.
Sergeant Ferns added: "We are hoping it will encourage people to be more responsible. This is also a good time to remind people not to leave things on display and double check they have locked the car.
"And it is an all-round opportunity to meet with the public and send out crime reduction messages."
SmartWater is a colourless, stainless liquid solution and can be applied to valuables, including jewellery, ornaments, electrical items and even vehicles.
Packmoor resident Pat Malby, aged 74, said: "I think it is an excellent idea.
"Packmoor has always been a target for years because it can be so easily accessed from the motorways.
"But I think is people use SmartWater then it could certainly prevent more crime."
The retired credit controller added: "If someone is determined to take your possessions then they will.
"But at least this will help trace the missing goods and police can track down who has taken them."