A U.K. company has developed a technology that it says will help deter thieves from robbing local businesses. SelectaDNA Spray, as it is called, coats robbers with an invisible DNA mist that cannot be washed off and remains present on skin and hair for weeks, allowing authorities to better link culprits to the crimes they commit. The system is already used in nine other countries, and will soon be coming to the U.S., according to reports.
The SelectaDNA company says the mist “cling[s] to fib[er]s and sit[s] in creases of the skin” after being sprayed, which can then be scanned with special ultraviolet light. Proponents of the system say the mist provides the solid evidence needed to prove the guilt of criminals, but others wonder how effective and accurate the system actually is in practical terms.
When the mist is sprayed, there is no telling how many innocent bystanders will also get coated in the DNA and be potentially linked to crimes they did not commit. And if criminals are able to obtain cans of the DNA themselves, they may use it to frame other people for crimes.
Although the company claims the spray is “harmless”, it is said to penetrate both hair and skin, which may cause unknown damage to health. And when sprayed, the substance is likely inhaled by everyone within close proximity, implanting microscopic DNA and other substances in their lungs.
Thus far, no businesses that have installed SelectaDNA Spray have been robbed, which indicates that it may be effective at deterring crimes. But since the technology has yet to be used in a real-life situation, it is difficult to say whether or not it actually helps to solve crimes.
Overall crime rates have remained roughly the same in areas where SelectaDNA Spray systems have been installed, as criminals have simply resorted to robbing businesses that do not use the technology, say officials.
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