DNA an invisible defence for schools

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:25 28/11/2012
DNA
MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ
Hokowhitu School principal Lin Dizon studies Selecta DNA with Manny Dreliozis, community constable at Rossmont.

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The security around schools has picked up an invisible line of defence that could both prevent burglaries and allow police to return stolen property easier.

Schools in Palmerston North are being supplied with SelectaDNA kits from BNZ and yesterday Rossmont police community Constable Manny Dreliozis showed Hokowhitu School principal Lin Dixon how it worked.

Mr Dreliozis said the kits included a bottle of an "invisible synthetic DNA" that could be applied to property, in particular electronic devices.

Once dry it was unable to be seen, or removed, however it could still be detected as it glowed blue under ultraviolet light.

Each bottle of the formula had a unique DNA signature, he said, that the property owner registered online. If property with the product was stolen police could read the SelectaDNA, find out the DNA identity and match it back to its owner.

"Each bottle, like real DNA, has its own code, there's no mistaking where the property came from."

The kits would help police prove goods had been stolen, Mr Dreliozis said, meaning a better chance of convicting both thieves and the recipients of stolen property.

Mr Dreliozis said it could be frustrating not being able to return stolen property, however he hoped the product would also work as a deterrent to stop crimes in the first place.

"The ultimate aim is to reduce the incidence of burglary and theft."

Mrs Dixon said it was reassuring to think stolen property could be returned.

However, she hoped the signs and stickers included in the kits, which would be displayed around the school, would prevent burglaries in the first place.

Break-ins were an "ongoing frustration for schools"."If you're targeted, it's the children who miss out."

Ross Intermediate was the target of several burglaries last year while Winchester St School is among those hit this year.

The kits were available for individuals to buy from BNZ branches, Mr Dreliozis said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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