Synthetic DNA spray tracks burglarsOctober 21st, 2010 - 3:09 pm ICT by IANS
London, Oct 21 (IANS) A novel device that sprays burglars with synthetic DNA, which allows police to track them down, is being deployed in restaurants and offices.
The spray is activated whenever a robbery takes places, and covers the suspects with the synthetic DNA as they are making their getaway.
It can only be seen under ultra violet (UV) light but contains markers that allow police to link the suspects to the scene of the crime upon arrest.
One of the first cities to adopt it was Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where detectives claim it has led to a significant drop in crime rates, reports the Daily Mail.
But they also admit that many persons were sprayed with the DNA when the device was set off unintentionally.
Outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Rotterdam which uses the device, sits the sign which police say acts as big deterrent to would-be burglars: “You steal, you’re marked.”
The device, an orange box the size of a phone book, was installed following a string of burglaries, which left police scratching their heads.
“The whole thing is prevention, not about recovering stolen goods or capturing criminals,” said Donald van der Laan, whose company, Rhine Group, distributes the spray.
Many criminals don’t really know how DNA works, so they just see the word and think the worst, he added.
Jean-Paul Fafie, who has managed the McDonald’s branch for the last 12 years, said the diners do not smell or see the DNA when it is being sprayed.
He admitted that there have been a few false alarms - the device is wired up so that it alerts the police every time it is activated - but the staff has been properly trained on when to use it.
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Tags: burglaries, burglars, crime rates, criminals, daily mail, detectives, diners, dna spray, false alarms, getaway, novel device, orange box, phone book, rhine, robbery, rotterdam, scene of the crime, synthetic dna, uv light, van der laan