Hackney launches high tech new tool in the crack down on burglary

Resident with Smartwater kit

Hackney Council and Police have a high tech new tool to help them crack down on burglary.

Crime in Hackney is down year-on-year, but burglary remains a priority for the council, which has bought hundreds of property marking kits to give away to residents in King’s Park ward.  

Smartwater - a forensically traceable liquid - is being trialled on the Kingsmead and Sherry’s Wharf estates.

Residents can sign up for a free pack of the liquid, which cannot be seen by the naked eye, but becomes visible when placed under UV light. By sending it to a lab for analysis, stolen property can easily be reunited with its rightful owners.

Cllr Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Hackney Council
Hackney Council works closely with the local Police to make the borough a safer place and crime is down year-on-year as a result, but we cannot afford to be complacent. Burglary can have a huge impact on the lives of victims, so we're looking at innovative ways to tackle it. Smartwater is as unique as DNA and acts as a deterrent but can also help to prosecute offenders and reunite owners with stolen property, so I'd encourage people living in Kingsmead and Sherry's Wharf estates to sign up for a free kit.
Cllr Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Hackney Council

Detective Superintendent Tony Nash said: "Whilst targeting criminals has proved successful in the past, this initiative will now make acquisitive crime more risky for all thieves and those who handle stolen goods.

“With the role-out of this Smartwater property marking scheme our odds of catching offenders and returning property to its owners has just significantly increased. This is another excellent example of the desire within Hackney's communities and partnerships to continue making the borough a great and safer place to live, work and run businesses from.”

Signs will be put up to let potential thieves know that the area is marked with Smartwater, which has proven effective in other parts of the country in both deterring thieves and reuniting owners with property.

Residents in the trial area signed up for free Smartwater during an Action Day outside the Kabin in Kingsmead Way, on 10 July. The event also gave them the opportunity to meet their local Safer Neighbourhood Team and community safety wardens, as well as pick up free alarms and other safety devices. The council's CCTV team was on hand to explain how CCTV works across the area, and  Sanctuary Homes were available to discuss any concerns residents might have.

Police Community Support Officers and Community Safety Officers from the council are now knocking on doors in the area to offer Smartwater to residents, or those living in the trial area can book an appointment by ringing their local police team on 020 8721 2939 or 07879 486460.

Appointments should take no longer than about 15 minutes and involve an officer painting a very small amount of the liquid on the property residents wish to mark, such as televisions, mobile phones, games consoles and jewellery. The owner's details are then sent to the Smartwater lab.