Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Wednesday | January 23, 2013
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Property DNA to reduce theft
Andrew Knights (left), managing director of Selectamark Security Systems, demonstrates to Peter Bunting, minister of national security, how the SelectaDNA works while looking on (from left) are Andy Thorburn (second left), CEO of Digicel Jamaica; and Donovan Betancourt, head of Digicel Facilities. Also pictured is Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington. Thorburn was presenting the SelectaDNA detection kit to the police commissioner after Digicel's donation of $1 million in SelectaDNA operational equipment to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) at Ellington's St Andrew office. The JCF is adopting SelectaDNA Technology to help fight crime. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Thanks to an innovative, advanced technology now available in Jamaica, property owners will stand a greater chance of successfully recovering their property, in the event of it being stolen.

The SelectaDNA technology was yesterday launched at the St Andrew Office of the Commissioner of Police and is expected to be a strong deterrent to thieves, especially those in the scrap metal trade.

SelectaDNA consists of a range of products that contain a unique, synthetic 'DNA' code in formats such as gel, spray, grease or a microdot, which can be used to individually mark and trace items of property and in some instances, irrefutably identify those responsible for the crime. The DNA coding is invisible to the naked eye and can only be detected by an ultra violet light or a microscope, which are included in SelectaDNA kits police officers across the island now have.

The technology was introduced to Jamaica by former Deputy Commissioner of Police Mark Shields, who is now the managing director of Shields Crime and Security Consultants.

Shields said it was a search for a method to deter criminals from stealing property that led him to start working with Selectamark Security Systems in the United Kingdom (UK) to establish a DNA property marking system in Jamaica.

Andrew Knights, managing director of the UK-based Selectamark Security Systems, which developed the technology, said his 26-year-old company began developing DNA marking products from the mid 2000s.

"Criminals understand DNA and know how detrimental it is to them. The DNA fear factor is what has and will help to reduce crime," he said.

Knights said in the more than 20 countries where DNA forensic property marking has been established, property crime has been reduced by up to 85 per cent.

In endorsing the technology, Peter Bunting, minister of national security, said he welcomed and endorsed all private sector initiatives to support the maintenance of law and order and deter criminal activities.

Police Commissioner Owen Ellington said while Jamaica has been experiencing a reduction in major crimes, there has not been a reduction in theft. Hence, this new technology would go a long way in deterring such an act.

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