Smartwater fights crime by secretly marking your items

WINTER PARK, Fla. —Winter Park has unveiled a high-tech crime-fighting tool that's been featured in TV crime shows.

SmartWater is a chemical that can be sprayed on valuables that could help police crack the case if they're stolen.

The chemical shows up under a special black light.

If a criminal turns up with the victim's belongings, they're considered a suspect in the investigation.

"It is similar to DNA in that it is traceable back to the unique individual -- in this case a unique, individual homeowner," Winter Park Police Chief Brett Railey said. "It is neat stuff."

Each vial of SmartWater has, in essence, its own unique identity, and it's supposed to be impossible to wash off.

The makers of SmartWater said once a batch is registered, property can be matched to an owner and a suspect in the crime.

The city of Winter Park is so excited about SmartWater that it's willing to give every homeowner a kit for free.

Last spring, Winter Park made the news with the case of the well-dressed burglars. Some of the criminals wore nice clothes and drove fancy stolen cars in an effort to blend in with the community.

"I am very serious about the fact that we had burglaries in our community. That upset me. One burglary is one burglary too many," Railey said.

Also being provided to businesses: a SmartWater that can be sprayed on a criminal. The manufacturer said SmartWater has been used in the United Kingdom for 17 years, and criminals don't like it.

"When a home or a place of business is marked with SmartWater, they don't get in," SmartWaterCSI representative Logan Pierson said.

Winter Park would prefer to do a security inspection at each house before the homeowner gets the SmartWater kit.

"Sure. It doesn't cost me any money, so why not try?" Winter Park resident Bimal Fernando said.

The money used to buy SmartWater was confiscated from drug dealers.

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