Property registration and marking

Only 9% of recovered property is returned to its owners. This is not only because the police don’t know who it belongs to.  Often it is because people cannot remember what their stolen objects look like and cannot provide a good description of them.

Here are our recommendations:

  1. Take a full inventory of your valuables, electronics, tools and gadgets. Note down any specific things about them, including:
    • colouration
    • design
    • identifying marks
    • manufacturer
    • serial or other unique identifying numbers
    • measurements.
  2. Take pictures of your valuables from different angles.
  3. If you have receipts, take pictures of them and keep the originals safe.
  4. Get expensive items valued and the value agreed by your insurance company.  See also our specific advice on registering art, antiques and valuable items.
  5. For electrical items, take pictures and note down the serial and model numbers.  Don't forget to include power tools.
  6. Keep this information in a safe place. You can store digital information and photographs safely online for free. Keep the original documents in a safe place such as in a safe. See our guide on art, antiques and valuable items for further information.

Property marking

Marking your property (and advertising that it is marked) is proven to reduce its attractiveness to a burglar.

If you are considering marking valuable items, please consult a specialist. 

Traditional property marking

  • UV Pens: Almost invisible unless put under a UV light, this is the most common property marking methods.  But it is prone to being removed or to fading over time. Only mark items with a UV pen where other methods of marking would cause damage or are impracticable.
  • Etching, engraving and punching: This method scratches a permanent mark into the surface of an object. It is best used for less valuable or agricultural items such as lawnmowers, power tools and garden tools. Professionals may use this method to mark more valuable items but be aware that any mark could reduce an items value.
  • Ceramic permanent marker: An alternative method for marking glass and china.  It reduces the risk of surface damage but be aware that any mark could reduce an items value.

Databased property marking systems

There are a number of companies that provide more advanced property marking systems, such a forensically unique liquids and microdots.

Before using their services, check that the companies comply with the Loss Prevention Certification Board’s Standards. These are LPS 1224 for databases and LPS 1225 for marking systems.

Secured By Design lists many products and services approved by police forces. Visit

What else can I do?

Display notices stating that your property is marked in windows near to external doors and in sheds or out-buildings.  Some marking kits come with stickers that you can use. 

Also display notices around the perimeter of your property.  Do this particularly if you have large grounds as it may stop a burglar from even approaching your home.

Consider making your tools and machinery unique. Think about painting certain panels or parts a distinct colour. This is likely to reduce its value if you wish to sell it later but it will also reduce its value to a thief.

Report it

If you have been a victim of a burglary, call 101 or report it online.

If a burglary is in progress and you are in immediate danger, call 999. 

More help and support

For further advice or recommendations, contact our Crime Prevention Advisers

This contact is for crime prevention advice only.  Please do not use this email address to report crime.  Call 101, or 999 in an emergency.

Secured By Design

24 May 21 2:34 PM

Find your neighbourhood

Use my current location