Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Liquid Feared by Criminals

Crime writers are always on the look out for tools they can include in their books - new poisons that are untraceable, new forensic advances that the police have introduced. For procedural crime novels this kind of research is essential - no point in writing a story that is full of holes, because the forensic techniques are completely out of date!

I don't tend to write police procedurals - partly because I don't know enough about police methods and also because I'm more interested in the kind of suspense stories where the 'detective' could be you or I, an ordinary person caught up in a mystery that compels him or her to find out the truth.

But - I have come across this - which may be of interest to crime writers (and home owners!) It's a security marker pen, but as well as marking the item to be protected in the home - it also 'leaves its mark' on the burglar. Nifty...

It's called 'SmartWater' and is a colourless, odourless liquid that has the ability to security mark valuable items of property with a unique DNA style chemical formula.

If the tiniest spot is transferred to clothes during a robbery, it will show up in ultraviolet light and ensnare the culprit. It can be used for all valuables such as computers, Wiis, playstations, electrical equipment, cameras, DVD players etc. It can also be used on furniture and jewellery. Once applied, it is virtually impossible to remove and can only be seen under UV light. If a burglar gets SmartWater on them, it immediately shows up if that person is examined with ultra violet light in a custody suite.

Essex police are apparently routinely screening every suspected crook arrested at Basildon Police Station for this invisible crime-cracking liquid, which could link them to offences. A mark the size of a pinhead is enough for that person to be linked to a crime scene.

74% of burglars (not sure how this information was obtained!) said they would not break into a property with a sign indicating that belongings were marked with the substance.

So there you go - this marker pen might be the key factor in your next novel that foils the culprit!

By the way - not to be confused with the 'other' SmartWater - advertised here by Jennifer Aniston! An unfortunate advertising clash...

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AJ Waines is the author of Psychological Thrillers:  The Evil Beneath and Girl on a Train.
Both books went to Number One in 'Murder' and 'Psychological Thrillers' in the UK Kindle charts.

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