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Schools Fight Back

Schools Fight Back

Pictured:  New technology crime tools for schools will allow Police like Senior Constable Bernie Watt from the Orewa Police Station zero in on stolen goods.  He is the Police Education Officer for the area.

From The Rodney Times

Petty criminals targeting schools will need to think again about stealing property with the introduction of new DNA forensic labelling.

Rodney and Hibiscus Coast schools studying methods to identify stolen equipment with the help of synthetic DNA technology have an interschool meeting in Orewa on Tuesday morning.

The launch will make Rodney one of the first areas to use it extensively.

The call for new ways to track criminals and stolen goods has come after continued burglaries at schools during the past three years.

Police intelligence officer senior constable Nigel Crocker has analysed school burglary data in the area from January 1, 2009 to September 15 last year.

He found 93 burglary reports from 31 Rodney schools out of 44 in the area.

Coatesville Primary School and Orewa College reported the highest number of incidents with nine burglaries at each school. This was followed by Whangaparaoa Primary School with seven.

Security measures include monitored alarms, CCTV cameras and contracted security firms patrolling school premises.

Despite that burglaries continue, the report says.

"The target in almost all incidents of these reported burglaries is electronic and computer equipment," Mr Crocker says. "These items are easily concealed and transported by the offenders and there is a ready black market for their disposal."

Police support a new method of goods identification called SelectaDNA.

This technology has two options, a property marking solution or a hydra-spray system. The system works by marking valuable items with a solution that contains small microdots about the size of a pin-head.

Police use ultra-violet lights to show up the solution and microdots. These microdots contain a unique owner ID number that can be seen under a microscope. That code can then be checked on an online database to track the true owner.

"The SelectaDNA preventative effect through publicity and signs is expected to positively impact on other offences such as wilful damage and general theft, as well as reduce the rate of dishonest offending against schools," police say.

The BNZ bank has offered to sponsor schools to purchase the technology.

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