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Neighbourhood Watch using new technology to deter theft

The TRACE Pen is a microdot applicator that allows people to mark personal property and identify stolen items.
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The TRACE Pen is a microdot applicator that allows people to mark personal property and identify stolen items.Facebook

TRURO, N.S. – A local neighbourhood watch program has adopted a new form of property identification in hopes of deterring theft in the community.

The TRACE Pen is a microdot applicator used to tag personal possessions for easy identification when stolen, and is now being included as part of the Neighbourhood Watch Truro program.

“To bring the neighborhood watch program up to speed and make it more modern, I was wondering what I could do,” said Honor Sheppard, who runs the Neighbourhood Watch Truro program on Burnyeat Street.

“I found this neighbourhood watch plus concept that is popular in the U.K. It basically lays out a security checklist to do at home, and a way to identify personal property if it’s stolen.”

Sheppard was interested in implementing the concept in Truro, but didn’t want to urge people to engrave numbers on their personal property.

“People don’t want to engrave their property, it is too old school,” she said.

“I knew in this day and age there had to be something a bit more modern; a better solution to marking your property.”

After researching property marking, she found TRACE Identified, a Canadian company that sells microdot-applying pens used to trace stolen property back to its original owner.

When used, the pen applies a dab of glue to a product, which holds hundreds of microdots with the same identifying number as the pen.

Each pen has its own number, which is registered to the owner on TRACE’s database online, allowing law enforcement to trace the property back to its owner.

“If someone comes in your house, they are going to steal a laptop, an iPhone, or other small but valuable things like that,” said Sheppard.

“By getting this new system out there to the community, we can help deter theft. I have a sticker on my door that says this property is marked by TRACE Identified. Thieves don’t want to steal stuff that is traceable.”

The neighbourhood watch’s adoption of this new identification system is being supported by the Truro Police Service as well, which has access to the TRACE Identified’s database and the tools needed to check for microdots on stolen or lost property.

“We’re supportive of their choice to use the pen because it allows them to deter crime in their area, and also can help us deal with stolen or lost property as well,” said Const. Peter Cullip of the Truro Police.

“It’s a means of reuniting people with their property and is better than we have right now. We get bicycles in that are lost all the time, so with this system we can quickly get it back to the person who lost it.”

While the neighbourhood watch’s use of the pen is to keep their personal property safe, widespread use of this system can also help police in theft investigations.

“It can also help if we have a suspect in custody with stolen property on them. If we can identify whom the property belongs to, it can be used as evidence during prosecution,” said Cullip.

Sheppard hopes more people in the community will get their own pens, which will hopefully further deter theft in the future.

“I don’t benefit from this in any way,” said Sheppard.

“I just think this is a good way to keep our homes safe.”

 

cody.mceachern@trurodaily.com

 

For more information on the TRACE Pen, visit traceidentified.com or The Neighbourhood Watch Truro’s Facebook page. (facebook.com/NeighbourhoodWatchTruroNS)

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