Police in Fort Mill tout ‘CopDots’ to help protect property

Special to the Fort Mill TimesJanuary 12, 2014 

— Fort Mill Police are encouraging residents to use technology to track stolen items: CopDots.

“It’s a new technology to mark and identify your property,” said Lt. Ray Dixon of the Fort Mill Police Department. “It’s a unique way of marking your property if victimized.”

Dixon, 43, has been with local law enforcement since 1996. He jumped at the chance to use the new tool, which he calls revolutionary, at work and at home.

CopDots are discs the size of a grain of sand that adhere to personal property. Each disc comes with a code which is registered online and corresponds with the owner’s name and telephone number. Learn more at www.copdots.com

“I suggest you mark your valuables for crime prevention,” Dixon said.

Dixon said marking an item is as easy as writing with a pen. The CopDots, available online or at home improvement stores for less than $30, can only be seen with a UV light or if someone knows exactly where to look for them. They can use a magnifying glass to read their own, individual code. One pen can be used on at least 50 items and there are no refills.

Dixon said that CopDots can be used on anything from a wedding ring to car parts. The technology has already been used to stop tire theft.

“Thieves were renting cars that had tires like the ones they had on their cars and were switching the tires,” Dixon said. “The thieves were doing this so they would have newer tires. Those running the car rental locations were using CopDots on the rims and could therefore find the thief and recover the stolen items.”

Dixon said CopDots can help the police find stolen items at flea markets and pawn shops and can be used to find items taken across the country. For instance, a police officer can pull someone over, find a stolen TV by locating the CopDots and find out who the TV is registered to from their computer in their car.

He added that CopDots are not indestructible. If found, they can be scratched off and items left outside should have CopDots reapplied once a year due to rain and other weather conditions. In time, consumers will have to find trickier places to apply CopDots as thieves eventually will look for them.

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