Tulsa Police Using 'Data Dots' To Help Track Stolen Property

Wednesday, February 23rd 2011, 4:56 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- You can now protect your property with a high tech tool that is no bigger than a piece of glitter.

Data dots are invisible to thieves, but easy for police to find and make it much easier for them to identify your things if they're stolen.

Data dots allow you to protect everything in your home for around $20 and 20 minutes. It's easier than writing down your serial numbers or etching your name onto everything you own.

You can't see it, but each data dot has a serial number on it, assigned only to you when you buy them.

They come with a container of glue and you just wipe a little dot filled glue onto the items you want to mark, like laptops, TV's, X-boxes, bicycles, chain saws, weed eaters, even catalytic converters.

If those items get stolen and police find them, they can check the data dots by using a special light that allows them to read the number on the dots.

If you've registered your dots online, police can check the international database and know instantly, the item belongs to you.

"It's so user friendly, if you don't want to register your number, you keep a list and say this is my number and this is what I painted it on," Carol Bush said.

Right now, police recover a lot of stolen property but can't get it back to the owners, because so few people write down their serial numbers.

The special light only costs police departments $30 dollars. The home kit, which should be enough to mark all your electronics, costs $20. The kits for bigger use cost more.

"The bigger size for boats, trailer and we have a lot of trouble with trailers, yard equipment, comes in a spray can that looks like spray paint," Bush said.

Bartlesville and Tulsa police are already on board. The Rogers County Sheriff's office will be soon and other departments are expected to follow.

Data dots work for businesses too, who deal with large scale theft of equipment or supplies.

"We're trying to pull in businesses, churches, schools, PSO, anybody who has had trouble with coppery wiring theft as well as our car dealerships to talk about marking their merchandise as well," Bush said.

The technology was first used in Australia because of the high number of catalytic converters being stolen and it virtually put a stop to the thefts.

Data Dots are endorsed by Oklahoma's 19 Crime Stoppers programs.

If you order through their websites, $5 from each home kit will go to Crime Stoppers to help pay rewards to catch criminals.