Crime-fighting high-tech spray comes to So. Fla.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida police department became the first one in the country to use a high-tech spray already being used to catch criminals overseas.
It only takes a drop of Smartwater CSI to identify burglars and link them to the scene of a crime, something that is otherwise very difficult to do, even with the assistance of surveillance video. "I knew who my robbers were, but they were getting away with it because I couldn't get the evidence to put them before the court and prove to a jury that we got the right people," said Phillip Cleary, the product's founder.
In his product demonstration, Cleary, a former British police officer, showed surveillance footage of masked jewelry robbers leaving a store. They were unaware that they were being sprayed with Smartwater CSI, which can be perceived in the video as a light mist.
The liquid is only visible as green spots when you shine a black light, also referred to as an ultraviolet light, on it. The perpetrators had no idea that with only one speckle of this substance they could be traced back to that specific store.
In Britain, criminal suspects are routinely scanned with a black light. Each droplet of Smartwater CSI can be linked to only one location and none other.
The other application is for domestic use, before burglars strike. Home owners can spray a small amount of Smartwater CSI on their most valuable possessions, just enough to leave a mark. When police check pawn shops, this property could be identified immediately.
The City of Fort Lauderdale has embraced the crime-fighting tool with gusto. Signs reading "Thieves Beware" and featuring the Smartwater CSI logo have already been posted on city streets.
In February, families in South Middle River are going to receive free spray bottles. "We have about 500 residents in this area that we're going to be giving kits to," said Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderly.
"We're using trust fund money, which does not affect our general fund," he added.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler expressed his confidence that Cleary's spray would yield tangible results. "We're going to roll it out in Fort Lauderdale and let's see how successful we're going to be. I'll tell you how successful we're going to be: extremely," he said.
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