Australian police are using traceable ‘synthetic DNA’ and ultraviolet torches to help track stolen goods in a six-month trial aimed at reducing home burglaries. Synthetic DNA in liquid form can be applied to valuables and detected with ultraviolet (UV) lamps. The material can be tested to reveal a unique code, which will help identify the registered owner. A pilot programme of similar technology in Britain achieved a 91 per cent reduction in residential burglaries, and another in New Zealand resulted in a 61 per cent decrease. The programme is a first in Australia. Synthetic DNA and UV torches will be delivered by police to 1,000 homes in Australia from next month. Victoria recorded more than 36,000 residential burglaries in the first quarter of this year – equal to about one every 15 minutes.
Victoria Police wants to reduce that by at least 10 per cent over the next four years. “We are pretty confident that if we have similar success, we will look at a broader application of this new technology,” said Assistant Commissioner Tess Walsh told the ‘Herald Sun’. The project is the first from Safety Alliance Victoria, set up to deliver technological crime-fighting ideas. Alliance members include Victoria Police, Neighbourhood Watch, Crime Stoppers Victoria and Federation University.