The main Crime Prevention purpose of marking your property is to make it less attractive to potential thieves as they know that if they are caught in possession of a marked item by the Police, they can quickly establish it is stolen property.
Also, the traceable property may be more difficult for them to "cash in" with their fence or to a willing purchaser of the item.
Of course it also greatly enhances the chance of you being re-united with the item which may have sentimental value to you. Some things like jewelry and gifts can never be replaced no matter how much insurance money you receive, so it is far better to deter a theft or burglary happening in the first place.
Although etching/punching your Postcode and house number or name/company name on property can be very effective it is not always the most practical option so other quicker and easier methods have been developed including forensic coding.
If you have a bicycle you should register your Frame number at www.bikeregister.com Warning stickers are available as well as stencils to permanently and visibly mark your bicycle.
POLICE PREFFERED MARKING PRODUCTS.
The Association Of Chief Police Officers recommends via its Secured by Design scheme Property Marking Companies which satisfy their criteria.
Go to www.securedbydesign.com, click on Licensed companies then Property Identification for further information. It may be worth checking with your local police Crime Prevention Officer to see if there are any ongoing initiatives which would enable you to avoid paying.
UV PEN MARKING
UV pen marking still has a role to play in Crime Prevention however, only after the above methods have been considered.
The principle here is that you mark your postcode followed by the house number or name on property with an UV pen which is invisible to the naked eye. Again you display stickers usually supplied with the pen to illustrate that you have done this. Police have access to UV lights which show up postcodes etc when shone on your UV mark of your postcode. Pens are cheap but the life of the mark is relatively short term and the above property marking methods should be used in preference.
Taking photographs of property as detailed as possible is recommended for reconciliation/prosecution of offender purposes, particularly if it is not property marked.
CRIME PREVENTION OFFICERS
You local Police Crime Prevention Officers or Community Safety Partnership can advise as necessary regarding Property Marking. Occasionally they obtain funding to set up large scale marking schemes with the aim of reducing burglaries especially in crime hot spots.