High-tech strands of synthetic DNA, which glow bright blue under ultraviolet light, are being used to link criminals to crime scenes. Unique sequences of synthesised DNA, sprayed as a mist during a crime, can confirm a suspect’s presence at the scene days or weeks later. Catching thieves red-handed is so 20th century.
A security consultant for the Australian Retailers Association, Mike Ramsay, said DNA technology has big potential as a deterrent against rising daytime crimes against shops. It is sprayed during a crime. In June, a Chubb security guard, Gary Allibon, was shot dead during an early morning delivery in the city. Eight months later, police in Manukau, south of Auckland, announced burglaries in the test area had declined by 61 per cent. Last year Selectamark offered another version of the technology to 1000 homes, schools and businesses in New Zealand. ”It’s certainly something we’re going to investigate, I can assure you of that,” Mr Ramsay said. He said forensic marking technology in Britain had resulted in ”hundreds of convictions”. The mist, which resists washing, clings to the clothes and skin of the criminal. Selectamark’s managing director, Andrew Knights, was in Sydney and Brisbane last week hoping to organise similar tests in Australia for early next year. Mist in the midst

A mist – visible only under ultraviolet light – is infused with a unique sequence of synthesised DNA. In NSW, Detective Superintendent Greig Newbery, Commander of State Crime Command, Property Crime Squad, said police, the financial industry and security firms were assessing DNA technologies. As banks have become increasingly fortified against attacks with pop-up screens and security cameras, criminals were turning to softer targets. A police spokeswoman, Ana-Mari Gates-Bowey, said few, if any, cases had gone to court, and it was probably publicity about the test that had deterred crimes. Of specific interest, he said, were ”crimes targeting automatic teller machines and cash-in-transit deliveries”. That used a liquid form of synthetic DNA that could be quickly swabbed across belongings such as computers, DVD players and cameras. The DNA-laced mist resists washing and clings to clothes, and the chemical traces can leave a trail for police as a suspect contaminates a getaway car or their home. The technology has so far received little attention in Australia, but the Bank of New Zealand has tested a DNA-infused aerosol made by Selectamark, a British company, and will install the security devices in all of its branches by the end of October. In some cases, the technology can release its telltale spray when an alarm is triggered that wirelessly alerts police. In July, a would-be bandit, Nathan Brodbeck, died after being shot during an attempted hold-up of a money delivery van at the Dee Why RSL. Chemical traces of the spray on a getaway car, clothes, or in the home, leave a trail for police to find a match.

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