DNA anti-burglary tool causes big drop in crime
A new DNA technology should dramatically decrease the number of thefts from schools in the Wellington region after being rolled out in Kapiti by Police Minister Anne Tolley.
SelectaDNA, an invisible liquid with a unique sequence of DNA including 60 chromosomes in every bottle, was introduced as a prevention method for crimes at schools.
The liquid can be applied to laptops, musical instruments, trophies, or any other at-risk items.
If an item is stolen, police can identify the owner through a DNA test, or by looking at a microdot under a microscope.
At the Wellington launch at Kapiti College, Ms Tolley said schools were a traditional target of crime.
‘‘As schools use technology more and more on a daily basis . . . these items are very saleable, so they have become a target,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s absolutely heart breaking when these no-goods come in and steal it. All of that creates an enormous range of victims.’’
SelectaDNA director David Morrissey said the liquid was first used in South Auckland and helped reduce crime by about 60 per cent.
‘‘In South Auckland, when we first did this in 2009, that trial included three schools, and the overall trial was 1010 properties, ‘‘ he said.
‘‘Over a six-month period we recorded a 61.8 per cent reduction in burglaries.’’
He said it was during that trial that it was noted that no crime, including thefts and tagging, had occurred at any of the three schools during that period.
By the end of 2012 every school in the North Island was to have SelectaDNA, and by term three of 2013 every school in the South Island will have a kit.
Early figures show crime decreasing by about 40 per cent at schools with SelectaDNA.
Mr Morrissey said that while a criminal could try to remove the substance, ‘‘you can’t get it all off’’, and only a small sample was needed to find the DNA sequence.
Signage is given to the schools as part of the kits, and prevents criminals from trying to steal from schools.
‘‘Everyone knows, no matter who you ask, what DNA is. They know that it is indisputable.’’
Thieves are unable to sell the items on because they are laced with a traceable DNA sequence.
Sticky fingers: Kapiti College student Tayla Welch, 15, with a SelectaDNA anti-theft kit.