The technology is naked to the eye and smaller than a grain of sand, but one police department feels it could also turn into a big crime-fighting tool when it comes to getting stolen items back to their rightful owners.
Medina Township is the first Ohio police department to partner with a company called ProtechDNA, which makes adhesives with thousands of microscopic dots on them. The dots contain personal identification numbers and can be placed on most items that a homeowner wants to label, including bicycles, power tools, cell phones and jewelry.
"You can't see it. It's very tolerant. It's impossible to get rid of," said Chief David Arbogast. "It's one more tool that we can put into our toolbox, so to speak, in crime prevention."
The police department is working with the company to provide the kits at no cost to anyone who wants to place the "DNA technology" on their belongings. Arbogast said each kit can mark about 100 items. A Q-tip is used to dab the microdots into place.
If marked items are stolen and recovered, Medina Township cops can use a scanner to obtain the personal identification numbers and track down owners.
In order for the process to work, residents who mark items must also register them on ProtechDNA's website.
The normal cost for the kits, which also include an ultraviolet pen to mark items, is $40, but Arbogast said a code will be provided to residents at a later date so they can obtain the kits for free. Arbogast said people don't have to live in the township in order to be eligible.
Meetings to discuss and demonstrate the program will take place at the Western Reserve Masonic Community on Nettleton Road on June 27 at 10:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Arbogast said the insurance industry is helping to fund the program in part because many claims are filed on stolen items that are never returned to victims.