Microdots bad for robbers, good for you

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iol scitech dec 18 Microdot paint


File photo: The technology allows for a particular item to be identified from the thousands of tiny dots sprayed on to it. Picture: David Ritchie

Durban - A project to “contaminate” household goods with microdot technology, making them unattractive to burglars and home invaders, will be extended to the rest of the province.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said KwaZulu-Natal police had decided to launch the project after its success in investigating vehicle-related crime.

From September 1 it became compulsory for all vehicles registered for the first time to be microdotted.

The technology allows for a particular item to be identified from the thousands of tiny dots sprayed on to it.

The dots contain unique numbers which are registered on a database so that if a microdotted item is stolen and then recovered, its ownership can be verified and the person in possession of the stolen property arrested.

Naicker said police recovered a lot of property during investigations and operations and were often unable to trace the owners.

A presentation on DIY kits was made to community crime prevention groups in Kloof last week when home owners in the Upper Highway suburbs were encouraged to buy kits to microdot valuables, especially electronic goods.

Brigadier Aaron Harry, head of the SAPS Crime Prevention Unit in KwaZulu-Natal, confirmed there were plans to extend the initiative across the province


The initiative is spearheaded by the unit in partnership with the SA Community Action Network (SA CAN) and Recoveri Microdot, which supplies the kits.


Recoveri’s Philip Opperman said each kit contained 1 000 microdots with a unique code. An owner registered his details on Recoveri’s database so if a microdotted item was stolen, the owner could be traced.


Naicker said: “We believe this technology can also assist us in cases of house robbery and housebreaking where property is targeted.

“We are convinced that the microdot technology will assist us greatly to link criminals to their crimes.”

The plastic microdots, while still in their container, are visible in a clear water-based adhesive solution.

But once placed on goods such as flat-screen television sets, laptops and cellphones, the dots cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Microdots are swabbed on to the surface of valuables and the adhesive solution takes 15 minutes to dry and 12 hours to harden.

Kits sell for R150.


Police stations around the province have been equipped with a microdot crime scene investigation kit ,which contains an ultraviolet light, that makes microdots glow.

A single microdot can then be removed using a scalpel-like tool and placed under a microscope, all provided in the kit, so the asset identifying number can be read.

Harry said the technology would also be used in police search-and-seizure operations.

The DIY kits will be sold on the SA CAN website. - Daily News

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