Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

June 11, 2014

Indiana police tap treated water to fight theft

INDIANAPOLIS — A northwestern Indiana police department on Tuesday became one of the first law enforcement agencies in the country to distribute a theft-deterring chemical that leaves DNA-like “signatures” on property and those who attempt to steal it.

Makers of SmartWater CSI say the product makes it easy to track stolen items and link thieves to crimes they’ve committed. Although it has seldom been used in the United States beyond Florida, company officials say it’s been used in Europe for several years.

“I call it virtual DNA. It specifically ties that item or items to that individual owner. It’s that specific,” said Porter County Sheriff David Lain, who began distributing SmartWater through a local senior advocacy group Tuesday.

When treated with SmartWater, stolen valuables can be returned to their proper owner, its makers and supporters say. The chemical can be applied to items by owners or can be sprayed in a fine mist to mark burglars who try to enter property. It’s invisible until placed under black light.

The company claims the substance, which is made from “rare earths and chemicals,” can create up to 1 billion distinct chemical signatures.

After seeing a recent presentation on SmartWater, Lain was so convinced it would help discourage thieves that he ordered 150 vials at $35 each to be given away to seniors. Lain said Tuesday he is considering ordering 100 additional kits out of jail commissary funds.

“I think I want to go further. It’s a matter of financing more than anything,” Lain said.

The chemical also has been distributed in several neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Police Chief Frank Adderley said he is considering expanding to two more.

Logan Pierson, president of the company’s Fort Lauderdale-based U.S. operations, said traces of the chemical can stay on people for years. But whether it will hold up as evidence in court isn’t known.

Pierson said SmartWater has been used in one conviction and has been a factor in several plea agreements, but he said the company expected legal challenges in the U.S. because it’s a new product here.

A Florida law firm has offered to defend suspects who have been sprayed with SmartWater on the basis of its long-term effect.

Adderley said burglaries in one Fort Lauderdale neighborhood dropped 14 percent in one year after residents began using the substance. But he acknowledged that police also used tactics such as covert operations.

SmartWater’s main value, supporters say, is as a deterrent.

Adderley said burglars avoid homes with SmartWater warning stickers, and suspects are repeatedly shown signs during booking about the hazards of targeting homes using SmartWater.

Lain, the Porter County sheriff, is eager to see how the product works in his community.

“Everybody knows the value of DNA,” Lain said. “So I think the idea of something having a marker that is individual and unique to an individual is something that people very much understand.”

—————

Follow Charles D. Wilson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/—cdwilson.

 

1
Text Only
Top News
  • blood drive.jpg Give Blood

    Give Blood

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man arrested in Valdosta drug raid

    Man arrested in Valdosta drug raid

    August 1, 2014

  • Taiwan Gas Explosions_Stew.jpg Gas explosions in Taiwan

    At least 24 people were killed and 271 others injured when several underground gas explosions ripped through Taiwan’s second-largest city overnight, hurling concrete through the air and blasting long trenches in the streets, authorities said Friday.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Immigration Overload_Roge.jpg Immigration courts speed up children’s cases

    Immigration courts are speeding up hearings for the tens of thousands of Central American children caught on the U.S. border after criticism that the backlogged system is letting immigrants stay in the country for years while waiting for their cases to be heard.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Extra jurors seated for long Ga. salmonella trial

    After three days of jury selection, a panel with plenty of extra members was seated Thursday to hear the case of three people charged in connection with a deadly salmonella outbreak traced to a southwest Georgia peanut plant five years ago.

    August 1, 2014

  • Liberia West Africa E_Roge.jpg Ebola outbreak tops 700 deaths

    The death toll from the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpassed 700 in West Africa as security forces went house-to-house in Sierra Leone’s capital Thursday looking for patients and others exposed to the disease.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Israel Palest_Roge.jpg U.S., U.N. announce deal on Gaza cease-fire

    Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning Friday, during which time there will be negotiations on a more durable truce in the 24-day-old Gaza war, the United States and United Nations announced Thursday.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Congress_Stew.jpg Congress oks VA, highway bills, not border measure

    Congress ran full-tilt into election-year gridlock over immigration Thursday and staggered toward a five-week summer break after failing to agree on legislation to cope with the influx of young immigrants flocking illegally to the United States.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wisconsin Unions_Stew.jpg Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds union law

    The fight over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s signature policy achievement, a law effectively ending collective bargaining for most public employees, ended Thursday with the state Supreme Court declaring it to be constitutional.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1714, Britain's Queen Anne died at age 49; she was succeeded by George I.

    August 1, 2014

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results