Can War Memorial Plundering Be Prevented?

The lower Naugatuck Valley is not the only place seeing war memorials plundered.

The United Kingdom is also seeing a rash of thefts targeting the more than 100,000 war memorials there.

The War Memorial Trust, a U.K. non-profit group trying to preserve memorials, estimates that due to the rising price of metals such as copper and bronze, thieves are ripping off war memorials in England at a rate of two-to-three per week.

The estimate at the start of 2011 was one per week, but the crimes have picked up at an alarming rate, according to an interview with War Memorial Trust spokesperson Frances Moreton by British Forces News. See the video below:

On Nov. 1, the War Memorial Trust announced “In Memorium 2014,” a campaign that seeks to protect memorials from greedy thieves.

The campaign is targeted around the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.

The War Memorial Trust is teaming with a U.K.-based security company called Smartwater.

The company manufactures an invisible forensic liquid meant to deter the thieves. The liquid, which can’t be removed from the monument, gets onto the criminal’s hands, which could help police make arrests.

Police use ultra-violet light to see the Smartwater markings.

The War Memorial Trust and Smartwater are now marking thousands of memorials in the U.K.

Here is a BBC report on Smartwater, which is not sold in the U.S.

The War Memorial Trust lists a number of steps groups can take to combat thefts, including:

1. Record and survey existing monuments, including photographs and descriptions of the monuments

2. Ascertain how easily the plaques or memorials could be removed

3. Consider protective measures such as video cameras, better lighting — even prickly bushes close to the monuments.

The complete guide is embedded below:

War Memorial Theft

Comment

posted by: Tom Kuzia 180 on December 4, 2011  3:16pm

Not only should the thieves that had total disregard for the honor of a United States war hero be punished, but also anyone that would pay them for the metal that the memorial was fabricated out of. It is a horrible act of disrespect and should not be taken lightly. I myself am not a veteran but I have full respect for those that have served. I am sure there are a few veterans that would surely like to catch these thugs in the act of committing these awful crimes and if they did I am sure they would give them a piece of their mind and possibly kick their butts!