UK: Give thieves a hard time - Security mark your equipment and deter the light-fingered.

UK: Give thieves a hard time - Security mark your equipment and deter the light-fingered. - Businesses are becoming more reliant on technology and expensive items of labour-saving equipment such as PCs, mobile telephones, organisers, fax machines, desk-t

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Businesses are becoming more reliant on technology and expensive items of labour-saving equipment such as PCs, mobile telephones, organisers, fax machines, desk-top photocopiers. So, if these items fall victim to thieves, it can have serious consequences. Of course, most companies carry comprehensive insurance but this cannot compensate for the disruption and loss of valuable time and work while systems are restored.

The first and most obvious step is to take action to deter thieves: locks, bolts, barred windows and security alarms are useful preventative measures.

But professional thieves can usually find a way in if they are determined to do so. Once through the door, thieves will go for items that are lightweight, portable and difficult to trace. Often they do not bother with computers, for example: it is the chips they are after.

If the police arrest someone with a load of computer chips or mobile phones, which they know but cannot prove are stolen, the thief can claim that he purchased them legally. Unless the police can find the rightful owner, who can then make a statement, the property has to be given back to the thief. This is where security marking comes in. Any security marking that you have should really be permanent and visible because the police won't necessarily be able to check for invisible markings, such as ultra violet. So if you have taken the decision to protect your possessions, first have each item permanently marked and then ensure that you register the ownership details with a company offering a 24-hour service.

So, adopt the belt-and-braces approach: use as many different means as possible to protect your equipment and establish your ownership to deter thieves. The more difficult you make it for them to get your goods and sell them on, the more likely it is that they will choose another target.

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