Police: High-tech pens protect valuables, reduce property crimes
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (WSVN) -- Officials at a South Florida police department said a high-tech pen available for purchase at a national chain of hardware stores can prevent thieves from profiting from stolen goods and has proven it decreases property crimes.
Coral Springs Police joined other departments across the state as they teamed up with COPDOTS, a company that manufactures pens with unique ID numbers property owners can use to label their valuables. "It can go on anything: lawn equipment, jewelry, cell phones, computers, you name it," said Tina Vayanji, a company spokesperson, at a news conference Tuesday, "and it doesn't harm anything."
COPDOTS' goal is to prevent wrongdoers from turning stolen items into revenue. "It works out of a national database," said Vayanji. "Every department in the state of Florida is participating in this program, so it doesn't matter where it goes. Chances are it will be returned."
The company refers to the pens, which are available exclusively at Lowe's stores across the country, as "DNA for your property," and applying it only takes a single stroke. Police officers equipped with a lighted magnifier are then able to track down an item's rightful owner.
"In law enforcement, every day we recover property from suspects," said Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi. "Unfortunately, a lot of time we can't identify that property because the people don't have their serial numbers."
In addition to property recovery, Pustizzi said, COPDOTS has an additional benefit. "As more bad guys get to know that there's more tools for law enforcement, the hope is that they'll start looking to do other things and stay away from stealing people's property," he said.
Vayanji described how thieves will know if an item is protected. "In each packet that's purchased at Lowe's there will be decals to put on your window to alert the thieves," she said.
The company representative admitted that, like any security product, COPDOTS is not perfect. "It is a deterrent; it won't keep [thieves] out," she said. "Just like your security alarm doesn't always keep them out, but it is a deterrent."
The Coral Springs Police Department said other cities who have teamed up with COPDOTS have seen up to 40 percent reductions in property crimes.
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