Data dots could save your things after being stolen


South Bend, Ind. If you've been the victim of a burglary, there's a good chance you'll never see your valuables again.

But if they are recovered by police, it may be hard to positively identify them because thieves will often remove property tags and serial numbers.

There is a way that could protect your valuables by outsmarting the crooks. Most thieves are smart enough to remove anything that could trace stolen property.

But what if there were a way to mark your items in a way that goes virtually undetected? Well, there is, and there's an added benefit, it will help the local Crime Stoppers Program.

It's a very small weapon in the fight against big-time crime. They're called data dots.

“Data dots are pepper sized flakes of material that resemble mylar on which are embedded serial numbers and when a person buys a data dots kit, which are about $25, they go on line or call the company and they register their information with that company which makes their information unique to that serial number,” says Lt. Cindy Kilgore the coordinator of Michiana Crime Stoppers, Inc. “Then to use it they suspend these data dots in a little vial, that is included, that is kind of like a glue. There's a little brush on it and they swipe it things they want to protect.”

Data dots are practically invisible to the naked eye.

“So, it's really a pretty neat item,” says Lt. Kilgore. “So it can be swiped on anything. It can be swiped on artwork, a collectible or a piece of jewelry. It is pretty hard to detect too. If you know what you're looking for it could be seen. But, I mean, you wouldn’t look at a TV or a computer and see it easily.

Data dots obviously can't prevent your valuables from being stolen, but if they are, Kilgore says this may be one of the best ways, she's seen, to recover them.

“Police department's property rooms are loaded with recovered stolen items that we can't connect to a victim and this is even more unique than a serial number that, a lot of times, will be removed by the suspect,” says Lt. Kilgore. “If their property is stolen will need to, when they file a police report, tell the police they have protected that property with data dots. And if they can remember where on the property they swiped the data dot, that’s even better, it's easier for an evidence technician to go back and locate that spot.”

And easily confirm through the data dots data base, that recovered property is definitely yours. Buying a data dots kit will also help with local crime fighting efforts.

“This company, data dots, is a big believer in Crime Stoppers and, actually, Crime Stoppers is international, so they've offered all of the Crime Stoppers programs the benefit of keeping 52 percent of the sales on these kits, and these kits, as I say, they're contained within a very small vial but that is enough to swipe on several items in your house,” says Lt. Kilgore. “So, it's definitely a fundraiser for crime stoppers as well as a great protector of your personal property.”

Again, the data dots kits are $25 and can be bought through the Michiana Crime Stoppers program.

You can call the Crime Stoppers office at (574) 235-9113.

Or email them at crimestoppers@southbendin.gov.


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