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World first sees sports trophies used to help fight crime

World first sees sports trophies used to help fight crime

Waikato Police call in big hitters to tackle home burglary issue

Having secured two of the country's most prized sporting trophies in their respective cabinets two Waikato based sporting franchises are now set to help Police, Corporate partners and community groups tackle burglary in their City.

Hamilton City Area Commander, Inspector Greg Nicholls said today, as part of a crime prevention initiative, local Police are launching Operation Safe as Houses in the eastern suburb of Fairfield.

"The initiative is in partnership with forensic marking company SelectaDNA and involves the distribution of Crime Prevention Kits to around 600 homes by teams made up of our staff, the Fire Service, Victim Support, Neighbourhood Support, Maori Wardens and the Hamilton City Council.

"And, in what is believed to be a world first, the Ranfurly Shield held by the Waikato rugby team and the Investec Super 15 Trophy held by 2012 champions, the Chiefs, will be invisibly marked with synthetic DNA."

Mr Nicholls said this means that both trophies will now be traceable in 26 countries around the world and more importantly, items of value in your home can be afforded the same level of protection.

"The kits being distributed include a variety of crime prevention and safety messages as well as SelectaDNA packs which contain a unique synthetic DNA marker used to invisibly mark household valuables."

"The driver behind the Safe as Houses initiative is preventing crime before it happens. After all if there is one place people should feel safe, it’s in their homes. Sadly for the victims of burglary that right is not a reality."

Mr Nicholls said the initiative will enable the community in Fairfield to work together and take ownership of their own safety and their homes.

"This isn't the first time the different partners have come together to prevent crime, Chiefs players already assist Police in the successful Kia Kaha anti-bullying campaign while SelectaDNA placed synthetic DNA marker kits in 275 Waikato schools in 2010.

"The response from the Fairfield community has been overwhelming and this gives us confidence that a collaborative working approach will make a difference, by working together we can achieve results!”

This afternoon's launch will be held at the Fairfield Hall on Clarkin Rd at 1pm and afterwards teams made up of staff from each of the partner agencies will deliver the Prevention Kits to 600 local homes.

Residents will be shown how to apply SelectaDNA to their valuables, how to place SelectaDNA stickers in appropriate places in and around their homes and have their kits registered to their address.

Residents will also be encouraged to record all serial numbers from their property on the SNAP website. This FREE website, is used to record serial numbers and images of valuables such as electronics, firearms, passports and jewellery in advance.

"This offers peace of mind if a burglary does occur and can assist Police investigations and residents' insurance claims while making it easier to track and identify stolen property," said Mr Nicholls.

Today's launch follows a six-month trial in 2009 in which SelectaDNA kits were distributed to homes in an area of Counties Manukau resulting in a 61.8 percent reduction in burglaries over the trial period.

“We're aiming to gain similar results in Fairfield and this initiative, combined with one in Counties Manukau should provide the platform to achieve significant burglary reductions throughout New Zealand using the SelectaDNA strategy.”

As part of this initiative Police will also visit second hand dealers to educate them about the danger of buying stolen goods and to ensure such items are not being sold.

“By targeting receivers of stolen property as well as burglars we disrupt the supply and demand cycle of property crime,” explained Mr Nicholls.

Police encourage members of the public with any knowledge of those who are stealing or receiving stolen property to call Waikato Police on 07 858 6200 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

NB: SelectaDNA - How it works

SelectaDNA works by invisibly marking property or commercial premises with a unique synthetic profile. The solution glows bright blue under UV light. It stays on valuables indefinitely.

Every bottle is registered in the SelectaDNA database which is accessible to Police to aid investigations and solve crimes. If an object is marked with SelectaDNA the solution will glow bright blue when placed under UV light.

Police are equipped with detection lighting kits. Detecting a sample the size of a pinhead is enough to help officers place a person at a crime or, in the case of stolen goods, return them to the rightful owner.

Each domestic kit contains a bottle of solution to mark between 50 to 100 items, a UV light and a set of high visibility warning stickers with the message “You Steal, You’re Marked!”, to be placed in windows to let criminals know items in the house or commercial premises are protected by SelectaDNA.


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