60,000 homes signed up for innovative scheme to drive down burglary

13 October 2015

60,000 homes in the capital have already signed up to a pioneering new anti-burglary kit launched by the Mayor in March this year to help reduce burglary rates in London, which have already come down by up to 42 per cent in some parts of the capital compared to 2012.

The Met Trace kit contains an invisible traceable liquid that allows people to mark their possessions with a unique forensic code, and warning stickers to deter burglars. The code is used by the police to trace the items should they ever be stolen, and to link suspects to crime scenes.

Launched by the Mayor earlier this year as part of a wider strategy to reduce burglary by 20 per cent by 2016, the Met Trace programme will provide 440,000 homes in burglary hotspots across London with a free kit over three years. The aim is to drive down the overall number of burglaries across the capital, which have dropped 26 per cent compared to 2012, and reduced by over a 10 per cent in the last year.* It is predicted the roll-out could prevent over 7,000 homes being burgled over three years, saving the Metropolitan Police almost £5 million.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: ‘Burglary is a sickening offence and, whilst crime is down in London, we are not complacent and continue to find new ways to tackle it. This innovative kit offers residents protection and peace of mind, and will continue to drive down burglary as we deliver it to more and more Londoners.’

Created by SmartWater technology, the liquid, which is virtually impossible to remove and can only be viewed under UV light, is already significantly driving down burglary rates since its launch earlier this year.

In a previous Met trial, more than half of residents involved in the pilot said they felt safer having applied the liquid to items in their homes, and since the programme’s launch, 23,000 residents across the capital have signed up to Neighbourhood Watch schemes.

Visiting a resident in Ealing to deliver a Met Trace kit today, 13th October, Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime Stephen Greenhalgh and Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Helen King announced a 28 per cent reduction in burglary in the borough, compared to 2012. Ealing, which first received the technology in June, has now received 4,856 kits, and has seen an 11.7 per cent reduction in burglary between April and August of this year alone.

Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, said: ‘Burglary has reduced by a quarter since 2012 and is now at its lowest level since 1974. We can already see how this new technology is reducing these awful crimes. Not only are we protecting residents and businesses from thieves, but by preventing burglary occurring we are saving our police force money and freeing up officers to fight different crimes, continuing the excellent job they do to keep Londoners safe.’

Assistant Commissioner Territorial Policing Helen King, said: ‘The delivery of MetTrace is helping to prevent burglaries across London. Residents who use this innovative and very effective technology to mark their property can feel safer knowing that this simple step can act as a strong deterrent to burglars.

‘We will deliver MetTrace kits to 400,000 homes across London over the next three years. We encourage everyone we visit to speak to their local policing team, who will instruct you on how to use the kits and provide important crime prevention advice to help you further protect your home.’

Phil Cleary, Chief Executive of SmartWater, said: ‘We are very proud to be partnering with the Metropolitan Police on this world first project and would like to congratulate them on reaching this landmark of distributing the 60,000th SmartWater kit. The fact that this project is already achieving such positive reaction across London is testament to the hard work of everyone involved.’

Met Trace will continue to roll out to more homes in hotspot areas across London. Safer Neighbourhood teams deliver, explain and demonstrate the kits to residents, and are on hand to answer questions and provide crime prevention advice.

Notes to editors

*Year to September 2015

1.      The latest data available on the MOPAC Crime Dashboard shows how burglary is falling across the capital https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime/data-information/crime-dashboard. The baseline used for this dashboard is Financial Year 2011-12, year ending March 2012. This is compared to the rolling month percentage figure (year to September 2015).

2.      The figures above all relate to total burglary (residential and business)

3.      The number of burglaries in London is down 26 per cent compared to 2012 and has seen over a 10 per cent reduction in the last year.

4.      In January 2014, the Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime approved the investment of up to £6.6m over three years, of which £3.3m was match funding by Local Authorities.

5.      The solution is created by SmartWater. SmartWater is used to mark valuable items that may be at risk of theft from the home. Each bottle of SmartWater carries a unique forensic code, which is registered to a particular address or location. Once applied it is almost impossible to remove and can only be seen under ultraviolet lighting. Forensic analysis is the only conclusive way of identifying the forensic code and tracing ownership of a marked item.

6.      SmartWater, a London-based company, has a proven and succesful track record of working with international law enforcement agencies to reduce crimes ranging from burglary to metal theft, in both the public and private sectors. The concept of using traceable liquids to suppress crime was created in 1996 by the Cleary brothers, one a chemist, the other a former police officer. For more information visit www.smartwater.com 

7.      The Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan set a target to reduce burglary by 20 per cent by 2016. https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime/police-and-crime-plan

8.      The Metropolitan Police Service is currently on target to achieve the 20 per cent reduction target against all MOPAC 7 crime. For more information visit https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime/data-information