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SelectaDNA Helps Cumbrian Flood Victims Deter Looting

Posted 7th January 2010.

FLOOD-AFFECTED areas of West Cumbria are being protected by more than 2,000 SelectaDNA property marking kits as local Police take to the streets to continue their efforts to prevent crime in the area.

Over the last few weeks extra Police patrols have been helping to keep towns such as Cockermouth and Keswick safe by handing out the DNA marking kits, partly funded by the Cumbria Community Foundation Flood Recovery Fund.

West Cumbria Community Safety Officers have been issuing SelectaDNA for flood-affected householders to mark valuables including tools and electrical equipment, to deter looters and ensure items can be traced back to the rightful owner if they are taken.
SelectaDNA is a state-of-the-art property marking product that can be easily applied in liquid form to items of value in homes and businesses, immediately target hardening them and reducing the fear of crime.

The clear liquid is infused with a UV tracer and a unique DNA strand linked to the registered owner of the property. If any stolen property is found, police will be able to trace it back to the rightful owner using the DNA technology.
Similarly if any DNA particles are found on an offender, the criminal is foiled as the police will be able to quickly link them to the crime scene.

Inspector Joe Murray, of West Cumbria Community Safety Team, said: We are using SelectaDNA to mark any valuables that remain in houses affected by the floods where the homes are considered uninhabitable.

In many cases families have been required to move out of their homes because of the damage caused by the flood waters but often have no alternative but to leave property behind.

As such we are using SelectaDNA as an element of reassurance to those communities affected. At the same time we are using street signage to highlight the use of DNA property marking to ensure the message is clear to would be criminals.

Home security and keeping hold of as many of their possessions as they can is a major concern for flood victims, according to Deb Muscat, Acting Director of Cumbria Community Foundation.

She said: Some people continue to stay in cold, damp homes just to keep the remains of their belongings safe. The DNA kits will give people the peace of mind they need. We are really pleased that a grant from the Flood Recovery Fund can be used to help in this way.

Inspector Murray added: Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams have been working hard conducting extra high visibility patrols to ensure the area is safe and secure despite the devastating impact the recent floods have had on many homes and businesses across the area.

Together with Trading Standards Officers, Police have also been handing out new crime prevention information leaflets to all residents so they know what they can do to prevent becoming victims of crime. The leaflets offer advice on home and vehicle security and also highlight what people can do to avoid being cheated by rogue traders.

Inspector Murray concluded: Thanks to this hard work I am proud to say we have seen very few reports of crisis-related crime such as looting or fraudulent traders and we want to keep it that way.

We are committed, through the Policing Pledge, to keeping our neighbourhoods safe, and people can be confident that we will continue to work together to rebuild our homes and communities to ensure West Cumbria remains one of the safest places in the country.