DON CRINKLAW Forum Publishing Group
1:51 p.m. EDT, March 24, 2014
After SmartWater CSI, a U.K.-based crime deterrent company, launched its newest technology in the South Middle River neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale in 2012, the neighborhood has seen a significant drop in home burglaries.
A year ago, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department subsidized a SmartWater giveaway whereby 500 SmartWater kits, paid for with $15,000 confiscated during arrests, were handed out free at a series of civic association meetings. Recipients were also given cardboard posters with the product name in bold lettering: tacked to a fence or window, the posters were to act as a deterrent.
A year later, the results are in. “Home burglaries are down 14 percent in that area over a year’s time,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley.
There are other factors too, like an increased police presence in South Middle River and “a better relationship with the State Attorney’s Office and the Juvenile Justice Department, to see that repeat offenders are not automatically put back on the street.
“SmartWater is definitely a piece of the pie,” Adderley said. “We support it. We support anything that’s going to help us reduce crime legally.”
There’s a little more to the statistics as well, said South Middle River crime committee chairman Benjamin Sessions.
“In the past year, approximately 19 SmartWater homes were broken into versus approximately 195 non-SmartWater homes,” Sessions said. “And we’ve gone from 20 break-ins a month down to 16 or 17. That’s drastic. Before SmartWater was implemented there were approximately 249 burglaries annually and over the last year we had 214.”
Based on the statistics, Sessions said, “If you have SmartWater it’s very unlikely that you’re going to be broken into.”
That type of support is music to the ears of Logan Pierson, president of the company’s American effort. Pierson describes SmartWater as a chemical and metal mix that can be permanently applied to valuables and then identified later. Each bottle is different, he said, as unique as a snowflake or fingerprint.
Such encouraging news also led the Broward Sheriff’s Office to collaborate with Pierson’s company last August in providing SmartWater kits to Oakland Park residents. Earlier this month, Miramar gave away 300 SmartWater kits, paid for by Broward Crime Stoppers, and Pierson said he is preparing another line of attack: pawn shops.
“We’ll be giving away black lights to the major pawn shops, so they’ll know at once what’s stolen,” Pierson said. “We will make it easy.”
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