Central Florida law enforcement agencies have new technology
to catch burglars and return stolen property to the rightful owners. The latest
innovations are SmartWater CSI and Cop Dots.
Earlier this month, Winter Park police introduced SmartWater CSI to the local area.
SmartWater CSI is a liquid that can be applied to practically any solid
material. It dries invisible and can only be seen when exposed to a special
When you purchase a vial of SmartWater CSI, you register
your name with the manufacturer and they associate it with a unique code that’s
embedded into the liquid. You then mark any valuable property in your home. If
that property is ever stolen and recovered by police, they will shine the black
light on it and be able to check the registration records to positively
identify it as yours.
For a limited time, Winter Park police are offering vials of
SmartWater CSI to residents at no charge if they agree to participate in a free
safety survey. Each vial holds enough liquid to mark approximately 60 household
Last fall, police introduced the other innovative product, Cop Dots, in Orlando. Using dots not much
bigger than a flake of glitter, homeowners can mark their belongings. Imprinted
on each dot is a unique numeric code that’s recorded in the manufacturer’s
database and assigned to the purchaser – similar to the cataloging system used
by SmartWater CSI.
Orlando police carry scanners that pick up on the presence
of the dots when they recover stolen property. The device then scans the dot
and identifies the rightful owner.
Cop Dots are available at Orlando-area Lowe’s stores and online
Burglary is a growing problem in the Orlando area. In a
recent survey of Orlando residents’ views on crime, 47.6% of participants said they have
been affected by burglary and 96.2% said they feel property crime is the most
common threat in their neighborhoods.
While SmartWater CSI and Cop Dots may be effective for
returning property after it has already been stolen, the best deterrent for
burglary is a home alarm system. In a study conducted by the University of
North Carolina at Charlotte, 83% of convicted burglars said they take steps to avoid houses with security
systems when selecting which homes to rob.