Landlord Finds Smart Solution to Copper Theft

by | Aug 1, 2016 | Rental Property Management Tips

After losing 18 air conditioning units in three years, a landlord in Ohio is sharing his strategy to prevent future theft: marking the property with an invisible tag that police can trace.

The landlord explains to the local news that his properties have been targeted more than a dozen times, with thieves taking copper pipes and portable air conditioners which contain copper coils.

Metal theft is an epidemic in some areas of the country, and it is a difficult crime to prove.

tenant screeningTheft-deterrent experts at SmartWater CSI have created a possible solution. SmartWater is a liquid that can be swiped across targeted items, creating an invisible, coded marker that only can be seen through UV light.  A thief will have no idea where the mark is placed. Warning labels serve as a deterrent.

In addition, the chemical solution is individually coded to the owner. No two vials of SmartWater are the same. That allows police to trace the stolen item back to the owner.

Only a drop or two of SmartWater is necessary, so it can be used to mark tiny objects like jewelry, or large items like air conditioning units. The tube of solution comes with a swab and all the landlord needs to do is swipe the liquid across the item.

SmartWater CSI boasts a 100% conviction rate, and has served as a significant theft deterrent in several pilot programs throughout the country.

Working with local police can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the strategy. That’s because officers will be checking with scrap dealers regularly, and have access to crime reports from neighboring communities. Many local police departments are partnering with SmartWater CSI for a more comprehensive approach to reducing neighborhood crime. This includes posting warning signs to thieves on streets where residents are participating in the SmartWater coding program.

For landlords, the applications for SmartWater go beyond metal theft, and may include include protecting appliances, furnishings, and even office inventory to deter employee theft.  The product also can be used to protect personal items in the landlord’s own home.

To participate, landlords need to subscribe to the service, which includes the individually-coded SmartWater marking product, along with lab support to confirm the code. The cost starts at $125 for a one-year license. There is more information at

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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