Almost three years ago I blogged about SmartWater: liquid imbued with a uniquely identifiable DNA-style code. In my post I made the snarky comment:
The idea is for me to paint this stuff on my valuables as proof of ownership. I think a better idea would be for me to paint it on your valuables, and then call the police.
That remark aside, a new university study concludes that it works:
The study of over 100 criminals revealed that simply displaying signs that goods and premises were protected by SmartWater was sufficient to put off most of the criminals the team interviewed.
Professor Gill said: “According to our sample, SmartWater provided a strong projected deterrent value in that 74 per cent of the offenders interviewed reported that they would in the future be put off from breaking into a building with a SmartWater poster/sign displayed.
“Overall, the findings indicate that crime reduction strategies using SmartWater products have a strong deterrent effect. In particular, one notable finding of the study was that whilst ‘property marking’ in general acts as a reasonable deterrent, the combination of forensic products which SmartWater uses in its holistic approach increases the deterrent factor substantially.”
When scored out of ten by respondents in regard to deterrent value, SmartWater was awarded the highest average score (8.3 out of a score of 10) compared to a range of other crime deterrents. CCTV scored 6.2, Burglar Alarms scored 6.0 and security guards scored 4.9.
Of course, we don’t know if the study was sponsored by SmartWater the company, and we don’t know the methodology — interviewing criminals about what deters them is fraught with potential biases — but it’s still interesting.
Also note that SmartWater is not only sprayed on valuables, but also sprayed on burglars and criminals — tying them to the crime scene.