DNA evidence has widely been used to connect criminals to crimes where forensic evidence was left behind. This evidence is typically collected after a crime is committed in an attempt to tie the offender to the crime forensically. Recently, scientists rethought the way we could use DNA not only to link an offender to a crime, but to actually deter them from committing the crime in the first place; it’s called DNA mist.
DNA mist works by spraying a fine mist of synthetic DNA onto a would-be thief’s hand, which can’t be felt or seen unless illuminated by UV light. Literally, these thieves will be caught red handed, covered with synthetic DNA. The mist is triggered by a silent alarm set off by the employee on duty by taking a 10 euro bill out of a special money clip, which will immediately call the police and release the invisible DNA spray.
The system is already being tested in Rotterdam, Holland at local spots like McDonald’s often targeted by thieves. A sign outside the establishment reads, “You Steal, You’re Marked.” So far, it seems like the system works, although there have been a few speed bumps in the deterrent’s implementation. For example, employees keep grabbing the 10 euro bill and setting off the alarm. “We didn’t train our counter people properly,” Jean-Paul Fafie, the McDonald’s manager.
Besides the DNA spray machines, businesses and schools can “DNA crayons” to mark their assets like computers and cameras. Erasmus University has already adopted such a system, marking 4,000 computers in the college. One store owner using the system swears that since implementing the system and promoting it with signs, “They see that sign,” he said, “they think twice.”
(Via NY Times)