BT approached SmartWater (now known as DeterTech), after prolific thieves, targeting the copper contained in the cable, left affected areas cut off, costing BT millions of pounds every year.
In the year before, a 9% increase in attacks on BT sites and infrastructure, led to more than 200 arrests. In addition, criminals were repeatedly targeting the tools and equipment stored in BT’s fleet of 20,000 plus vans, further hindering essential repair, maintenance and installation work
To combat this, SmartTrace™ was applied to both underground and overground telecommunications cable, ensuring that all stolen BT cabling could be linked back to an original location via the unique and invisible forensic code. High-visibility deterrent signage was deployed at BT sites to promote the use of SmartTrace™, sending out a powerful warning to thieves.
Tools and equipment stored inside BT vans were also marked with SmartTrace™, and special deterrent livery applied to the exterior of the vehicles to make them less attractive to thieves.
In support of this strategic approach to reducing crime, SmartWater investigators engaged with likely handlers of stolen BT property and provided them with UV detection equipment to identify SmartTraceTM. Regular covert test purchases were also carried out by SmartWater to make sure handlers were both looking for SmartTraceTM and refusing to buy marked property. Over a 5-year period, BT saw an 86% reduction in incidents of theft.
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