Know your enemy
Thieves, of course, come in all shapes and sizes. But here are some global characteristics that the vast majority of them share:
- Very, very few thieves are specialists.
- The majority of thieves steal to fund a drug or drink habit.
- Only around five per cent of them actually suffer from kleptomania.
- They rarely steal for themselves.
- They will sell what they steal within half an hour.
- Popular areas to steal are near where they live, where their partner lives or where their drug dealer or fence lives.
- The only thing that a thief is concerned about is the potential value of the item he is stealing.
There are a number of misconceptions about crime. Here are some of the most common:
- Older people are NOT commonly victims of crime, indeed the opposite is true.
- Invisible marking systems do not reduce crime, improve recovery of stolen goods or increase convictions. Why? Because they are invisible.
- Crime is NOT on the increase. It has been on a steady decline across the world since the mid 1990s.
- Having a 'Bobby on the Beat' does not reduce crime but it does reduce fear of it.
- It has NEVER been established that we all have different fingerprints.
Some things are targetted more often than not, Criminologists have what they call a CRAVED list which helps identify what thieves are liable to target.
- Concealable: Things that can be hidden in pockets or bags are more vulnerable to shoplifters and other sneak thieves.
- Removable: Laptop computers are often stolen since these are not only desirable but also easy to carry. What is easy to carry depends on the kind of theft. Both burglars and shoplifters steal cigarettes, liquor, medicines, and beauty aids from supermarkets, but burglars take them in much larger quantities.
- Available: Desirable objects that are widely available and easy to find are at higher risk. This explains why householders try to hide jewelry and cash from burglars. Theft waves can result from the availability of an attractive new product, such as the cell phone, which quickly establishes its own illegal market.
- Valuable: Thieves will generally choose the more expensive goods. But value is not simply defined in terms of resale value. Thus, when stealing for their own use, juvenile shoplifters may select goods that confer status among their peers.
- Enjoyable: Hot products tend to be enjoyable things to own or consume, such as liquor, tobacco, and DVDs. Thus, residential burglars are more likely to take DVD players and televisions than equally valuable electronic goods, such as microwave ovens.
- Disposable: It is clear that thieves will tend to select things that are easy to sell. For example that is why batteries and disposable razors are among the most frequently shoplifted items.
The best way to put off a thief is for him to know that if he takes the risk of stealing your item, he will not make any money from selling it. A thief, even a drug addict, won't take what he sees as an unneccessary risk. It's Mine Technology is designed to raise the risk threat using a mixture of psychological and technology barriers.
He will have to find the concealed NFC chips using an Android phone. But when he finds one the owner will be automatically alerted via email giving the network address of the thief's phone
Then he faces the prospect of digging the chips out. The phone scanner is accurate to about 1.5 centimetres which mean that to be certain of taking out the chip he is going to have to gouge out a huge hole. Then he has to repair and try to sell it, all within his preferred half an hour time frame.
For more on the science behind this go here
On the other hand if you are a thief you will find it useful to read our FAQ for Felons to find more out about the challenges you will face with It's Mine.