Does the word DNA make you afraid?
If it doesn’t, it’s probably because you’re not a hardened criminal.
According to the U.K.-based company behind a new security system, would-be-thieves become total chickens when they see the words “DNA spray system installed here.”
At least that’s what Selectamark Security Systems is banking on with their spray-on DNA security system.
It works like this:
• A business targeted by thieves – bank, gas station, liquor store, a McDonald’s – has installs a device that can be activated to spray manufactured DNA, either through an existing alarm system or manually through a panic button. The device is usually placed somewhere strategic, such as above an entrance or exit.
• Next, a sign is placed in a prominent place letting people know there is a spray-on DNA security system installed on the premises. In may or may not also have the menacing words, “You steal, you’re marked,” on it.
• In the best-case scenario, the thief takes one look at the sign and runs the other way. In the worst-case scenario, the thief goes ahead and steals but is subsequently squirted with a good dose of manufactured DNA while trying to getting in, or out, the door.
Tasteless and odourless, the DNA spray sticks like glue, creating an otherworldly bluish glow under UV light for weeks and inextricably linking a criminal to the crime scene where it was sprayed in the first place.
In other words, the DNA spray acts like a tag that links the person to the crime.
“DNA samples can be taken from skin, hair and clothes and sent away to our lab for analysis,” Jason Brown of Selectamark Security Systems wrote in an email, noting that the technology is being used in European countries such as the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany.
“That evidence can then be used to help police obtain convictions and bring criminals to justice. In the U.K., police routinely scan criminals for traces of UV and DNA.”
Brown said Selectamark has been developing the technology over the past two or three years as an addition to their arsenal of other DNA-based security systems.
The company also sells DNA property markers that are used to protect valuables. The property marker is a kind of paint that’s put on the valuables and has a unique DNA marker that is then matched up to a database. All valuables can be traced back to their owners if they’re found in someone else’s possession.
But of course, in the case of break-and-enters and smash-and-grabs, it’s never supposed to get to that point.
“We try and emphasize the point to our customers that we are selling a deterrent,” Brown said.
“The word ‘DNA’ usually strikes fear into the most hardened criminal, and in the majority of cases they give up and search for a softer target,” Brown said, noting that DNA is a very powerful piece of evidence.
So powerful, in fact, the technology is being used for more than just garden-variety burglars.
Brown says Selectamark also works with police forces in other parts of the world “providing the resources and technology to equip trap vehicles with DNA covert sprays and DNA gel.”