Violent smash and grab offences are a worrying crime trend that continues to put retail staff at risk as well as members of the public.
The raids, which police say have involved the use of firearms, claw hammers and machetes, have already resulted in £1million worth of goods recorded as stolen this year.
However, retailers including luxury brand names, jewellery stores, supermarkets and petrol stations are fighting back by installing a new, hi-tech security system that douses fleeing robbers with an invisible, synthetic DNA solution.
Designed as a deterrent to robbery and smash and grabs, the SelectaDNA Spray system, developed by security company Selectamark, contains a forensic solution unique to each location. This means that criminals are able to be linked to the scene of a crime.
Consisting of spray heads that can be fitted above windows and doors of premises, the system is triggered as an intruder enters the property. The system emits a fine mist of SelectaDNA solution onto the offender that stays on the skin for weeks and is only visible under an ultraviolet light. The solution contains a UV tracer and a unique DNA code, linking intruders irrefutably to the crime scene.
Jewellery stores have seen a significant reduction in robberies thanks to the new spray system. A number of independent jewellery shops in Lancashire are being protected from smash and grab raids thanks to the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime, by using the DNA Spray, which can be integrated into an existing shop alarm system or as a stand-alone system with its own panic button.
Warning signs and window stickers are supplied to alert potential criminals that the system is in use and to dissuade them from targeting the protected premises.
James Brown, Managing Director of Selectamark said, “Activation of the system is not the goal, but rather to make would-be criminals think twice. However, if an offender was sprayed with the forensic mist, and the case went to trial, there is irrefutable evidence to ensure conviction. This is why SelectaDNA is such a strong deterrent, and there is nothing else on the market which compares to it. Other systems can help make robberies and burglaries difficult, but only DNA can link a criminal to a crime scene.
“SelectaDNA gives shopkeepers and retailers added protection and peace of mind. If the worst should happen and a robber enters the premises by force, they will be sprayed with the DNA which links them instantly to the crime scene.
“However, as the SelectaDNA warning signs act as a highly effective deterrent it is extremely unlikely that any offender target ‘DNA-protected’ shops. Criminals fear DNA technology more than anything else.” he warned.