Thursday, March 8, 2007
Don't Be a Victim: Data Dots
Most victims of burglary never get their things back. But now police have a new weapon in their arsenal. In tonight's Don't Be a Victim, 7's JP Hervis shows us how to protect our property.
Gisela Simonitis: "When I got home, the door had been broken into, and they stole all my jewelry. They went through all of my drawers."
Gisela Simonitis never got her items back.
Gisela Simonitis: "Nothing, I filed a claim with the insurance, but nothing was ever recovered."
That's pretty common. Most of the time when police find items like jewelry and electronics they have no way to trace them unless you're name is on it.
Officer Frank Jackson: "The old school of thought was to mark your personal property or items you treasure with either your drivers license number or your social security number."
No one does that anymore because of fear of identity theft. So most items go unmarked.
But now there's a new high-tech weapon.
Officer Frank Jackson: "It's a glue-based material with hundreds of little tiny dots that are etched with a specific number that are registered to you, through you local law enforcement agency."
They're called Data Dots.
They can be put on almost anything.
Officer Frank Jackson: "You just twist the top off. The dots are already premixed in the glue. You take the brush, dip it in, you will then see a couple of dots on the tip of the brush. You just brush it on in an inconspicuous are of your property and then it's marked."
They are so small you can even put them on the back of an earring.
They are virtually invisible to the naked eye, so thieves have no idea they are taking marked property.
Tony Simonitis: "It's an incredible idea that you can fit a code on a dot so small. That's just a fantastic thought."
If your item is stolen, police can find the dots and trace the items back to you.
Officer Frank Jackson: "We have a device which is a blue light/magnifying device where we're able to scan these items, which we will be doing on a routine basis."
And it's not just for items in your home -- you can even mark your boat or car.
Officer Frank Jackson: "There are also certain items on a car that are high theft items. Specifically, if you have a vehicle where headlight thefts are an issue. There are certain spots on a vehicle that you would want to place them on. Around the engine block, the door jams."
JP Hervis: "That way, if car parts are recovered, police again can trace the item back to you. Data Dots are available through your local police department and online."
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