MISSISSAUGA – The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police is singing the praises of a pen it calls a new high-tech crime fighting tool.
“[The pen] gives us a fighting chance,” association spokesperson Joe Couto said.
The TRACE pen, which retails for $40, can be used to mark valuables with a unique plastic disc that can only be found under a black light.
“Inside are thousands of these tiny microscopic, almost grains of sand, that are laser-etched,” Brian Vaile, the VP of marketing at RSR Solutions Inc. said. “They’re actually plastic discs.”
The discs are microdots housed in an adhesive, and when applied to valuables, are nearly invisible. The adhesive contains phosphorous, which allows it to be visible with a black light.
“Whatever you want to mark in your house – you can mark with that DNA,” Vaile said.
The “DNA” is actually a unique PIN number that is permanently linked to the property owner through the company’s identification network. The network is a secure database that allows property owners to upload photos, serial numbers and descriptions of marked objects. Only the property owner and law enforcement officers have access to the database.
Microdot technology was developed in the United States in the 1990’s and has since been used widely in Canada by vehicle owners and dealerships in the province of Quebec.
According to RSR Solutions, 52 vehicle parts have been identified as subject to frequent theft. Those parts are marked with microdot technology which insurance companies view as a theft deterrent, Vaile said, allowing consumers to get a discount.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada says it is too early to know if the TRACE pen would also qualify for insurance discounts on home contents. According to the Automobile Protection Association, discounts on vehicle insurance in Quebec typically range from $10 to $100 depending on the type of vehicle, and which marking system is used.