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DNA Spray Foils U.K. Criminals

10/28/2010 -There’s a new weapon in the retail sector’s fight against robberies and burglaries. A fluorescent synthetic DNA spray has been created by the United Kingdom’sSelectamark Security Systems PLC that can both deter and foil commercial burglaries and smash-and-grab raids. The spray contains a unique DNA code that can be analyzed to tie the perpetrator to the crime scene.

Canisters of the synthetic DNA solution are fitted to spray heads at entrance and egress at various points around the store. When a robbery occurs, store employees can push a button located under the checkout counter to activate a burst of the solution, which sprays like a fine mist over everyone and everything. Dispersal can also be triggered by tying the release of the product to an existing intruder alarm system.

The synthetic DNA glows under a black light, marking the perpetrators if they are apprehended. While they can scrub the majority of the solution off, it is nearly impossible to remove all of it. Areas such as inside the nostrils, under the fingernails, in the hair, and in skin creases remain coated. According to Selectamark, the DNA will remain on a person for weeks.

As first reported onAOL News, police departments in the United Kingdom have been running trials with store owners and have concluded that the spray not only helps them to identify criminals but also that word of the product’s use is serving as a successful deterent. In London, shops in area with a high break-in rate that tried the system were soon incident-free, while neighboring stores that did not have the system and the warning signs and window stickers that come with it saw no reduction in incidents.

♦ Photo byEll Brown/flickr