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DNA Test Could Help Identify Stolen Goods


DNA is something we consider to be unique to life – the very blueprint for life. DNA analysis is used to determine our genetic make-up and discover what makes us who we are. A DNA based test allows scientists to study our genes and determine the way genetic diseases work. Many scientific and medical breakthroughs have happened so far. But it isn’t only the medical world that is benefiting from advances in DNA analysis Now police are undertaking a unique ‘DNA for property’ scheme.

Targeting Burglars

The scheme works by using encrypted microparticles to mark valuable possessions. Named the ‘enigmaTag’, thousands of homes are being used as guinea pigs to find out how effective a DNA based test on property could be in identifying stolen goods. Items such as jewellery, antiques and high tech goods have been marked as part of the scheme with the unique coded solution registered to each individual home. The solution is then identified with a hand-held reader. This means stolen goods can be traced back to their original owners with a simple test.

DNA and Crime

It isn’t the first DNA analysis designed to target burglars. Throughout the last decade, various schemes involving DNA have been used as a way to identify goods. In 2003, police launched a scheme called ‘Smart Water’ that was designed to tackle house burglaries in Northumbria. The water contained individual DNA registered to the homeowner, which was doused as an invisible mark on the property. An ultraviolet light would reveal the individual marks identifying who the property belonged to. The Smart Water scheme was used to target specific areas vulnerable to high burglary rates.

Policing in Modern Britain

In 2005, people living in burglary hotspots in London, were given ‘DNA smear’ packs by police in an attempt to cut crime. As well as marking property with DNA, police are able to take DNA samples from a crime scene and do a simple test to see if the criminal is on their DNA database. This is one way of connecting a criminal to the scene of the crime – and increasingly, the test is fast becoming an important part of policing in modern Britain.

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