Breaking the theft-chain-cycle: Property marking as a defensive tool

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Security Research Institute, ECU


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Computer and Security Science / ECU Security Research Institute




Bailey, W. J., & Brooks, D. J. (2013). Breaking the theft-chain-cycle: Property marking as a defensive tool . In Proceedings of the 6th Australian Security and Intelligence Conference, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, 2nd-4th December, 2013 (pp. 1-8). Perth, Australia: Security Research Institute, ECU. Availablehere


Any viable method of protecting property, dissuading the theft of property or ensuring the swift recovery of stolen property could be considered essential to general society. A number of crime preventive measures have been used in an attempt to achieve this objective. One such measure is property marking, employing various techniques to make property more readily identifiable. The study assesses technology to investigate effectiveness, both for dissuasion and for tracing once stolen. Mechanism for the disposal of stolen property forms an important part of this study, commencing with the mapping of the theft‐supply‐chain. Using a mixed methods approach, the research project has set out to identify if security technology could be used to break what is termed the ‘theft‐chain‐cycle’, whereby articles are stolen, stolen to order or for barter. The theft‐supply‐chain is not a single linear model; rather property passes through a number of formal and informal chains prior to reaching its “new” illegal owner. A significant factor is the ease of disposal linked to ease of detection using property marking to aid conviction. Based upon the findings, potential strategies and changes in legislation that better direct limited resources can be developed to assist in curbing the growing level of burglaries.



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