Thousands of Newham residents are set to be protected by innovative technology in a bid to deter burglars.
Newham Police, supported by Newham Council, set up the MetTrace programme, which will see 3,868 homes in burglary hotspots receive a free security marking kit to help trace their property if it is stolen.
The kits contain SmartWater, an invisible property marking solution, which allows owners to mark their possessions with a unique forensic code. The water can be viewed under a UV light and allow police to link burglars to crime scenes and return stolen possessions.
The kit also contains warning stickers for residents to put on their homes to deter burglars.
Councillor Unmesh Desai, cabinet member for crime and anti-social behaviour, said: “I welcome this initiative which is part of a fight back against opportunist thieves who target our residents.
“Being burgled is a horrible experience which leaves people feeling vulnerable and unsafe in their own homes - often precious possessions are lost forever.
“Through MetTrace less residents should become victims, but if they do there’s more of chance that they will get their items back by using SmartWater.”
Safer Neighbourhood officers will deliver and demonstrate the SmartWater kits to residents and provide crime prevention advice over the next few months.
Chief inspector for Neighbourhood Policing in Newham Shabnam Chaudhri said: “The delivery of SmartWater kits in targeted areas will have a significant impact on burglary reduction and other crimes in Newham. Those who commit crime are frightened of this technology, but we can’t make this a success without you, so when my officers come to your home I would ask that you sign up and protect yourself and your neighbourhood.
“If you’re not home we will put MetTrace cards through your door. Please don’t throw them away they have our contact details so that we can visit at a time that’s convenient for you. We want to make you feel safer.”
MetTrace signs are also being installed in the borough’s streets to show that residents have been using SmartWater technology. During a recent MetTrace trial across five London boroughs, burglary rates reduced on average by 49 per cent, with some areas seeing a reduction of more than 70 per cent. More than half of residents involved in the pilot said they felt safer after they used the liquid in their homes.