As the nation’s pubs and clubs gear up to open and get thousands of hospitality staff back to work, Australian crime prevention innovator DNA Security Solutions warns that a crime surge may be imminent.
DNASS co-founder and CEO Tania Jolley says that criminals have been in enforced hibernation during the COVID-19 lockdown. She cautions that the combination of newly opened venues with cash registers ringing and the new normal of everyday people wearing protective masks could make venues more vulnerable.
“Serious criminals have gone underground over the past few weeks because their targets - which are mainly gaming venues such as pubs and clubs - are closed,” Ms Jolley says. "Now we are operating in a different world where everyday people are wearing masks to protect themselves and others. But how do you know the difference between a criminal wearing a face covering and a customer who’s just walked into your venue?"
The issue of criminals wearing masks has already surfaced both here and in the United States (see media reports below*). In Western Australia, a man wearing a surgical mask held up a pharmacy in Port Kennedy, and in Melbourne a bandit wearing a surgical mask robbed a gold dealer at gunpoint in broad daylight.
“Even where CCTV images are available, facial recognition algorithms use the nose, mouth and chin – without these features, the certainty of identification is heavily compromised,” Ms Jolley explains. “In this scenario you can't depend on CCTV cameras to provide evidence that will stand up in court. It doesn't create a forensic connection."
Ms Jolley’s company has been working in the criminal deterrence space for more than a decade, with thousands of its DNA Guardian units installed across Australia and New Zealand. Its DNA Guardian technology uses a patented DNA solution to mark the criminal exactly to the scene and time of the crime.The system can be triggered by a staff member or by an existing alarm system. It operates silently and invisibly, so the criminal does not even know they have been tagged.
Cases that have been solved using DNA evidence include daylight armed robberies in pubs and clubs, service stations and pharmacies, as well as the more common night-time break-ins.
“Without solid evidence of identity, it can be a long, uncertain road to conviction,” Ms Jolley says. “The police we work with say our technology unquestionably ties the suspect directly to the crime scene at the exact time of the attack.”
The company has collected verifiable data about premises that display DNA warning notices, proving that they are highly effective, not just in identifying criminals but in deterring them from committing crimes.
Darren Steele, General Manager of Operations (SA) for EDP Hotels, has installed DNA Guardian at 17 venues throughout South Australia.
"After a spate of armed holdups targetting hotels in 2019, we decided to include DNA Guardian in our security portfolio as the best way to protect our staff and patrons, over and above our CCTV system, security personnel, policies and procedures," Mr Steele said. "Now, with COVID under control, we are looking forward to opening our doors again soon and welcoming the public, with their safety and health always in mind."
Ms Jolley said her company works closely with police and venues to understand and fight crime.
“We are proud of our 98 percent deterrence rate for protected premises and 100 percent conviction rate for criminals forensically tagged at the scene of crime,” Ms Jolley says.
“Crime at our protected locations has been virtually eliminated. If you attack a DNA-protected premises, the chances are very high that you will be marked, identified and arrested.”
Ms Jolley said that the innovative tag and trace technology was as much about the psychology of deterrence as it is about placing a DNA marker on a person involved in criminal activity.
“The combination of DNA criminal marking and CCTV is very powerful. The biggest risk to a criminal is being identified, and that’s exactly what happens when they are marked by our system,” she said.
*Media reports for your reference:
The Age, Melbourne:
The Sound Telegraph, WA:
About DNA Security Solutions
Established in 2007, DNA Security Solutions is an innovative Australian company that provides DNA marking technology to protect businesses and families from the emotional, financial and long-term costs associated with robberies, burglaries and other crimes
DNASS protects hundreds of businesses in Australia and New Zealand and is now introducing its patented crime-deterrence and identification expertise in North America.
To deter criminals, businesses use multiple layers of security devices and technologies. Electronic tagging, CCTV, facial recognition technology, security guards, store design, locks and barriers each provide a level of defence. Well-lit surrounds, staff training, customer service and having no cash on premises are other measures, but still criminal activity is on the rise. There is one key deterrent missing – a defence system that provides direct, physical forensic evidence to link the criminal to the crime.
DNA Guardian is an award-winning criminal marking technology. It is installed as a wireless security system, triggered by staff or existing alarm system. It operates without a sound, so the criminal does not even know they have been tagged. It’s safe, non-toxic and invisible, made from 99.9% purified water, a fluorescent vegetable dye and a unique synthetic DNA code.
Until DNA Guardian, police have relied on a criminal’s DNA detection at the crime scene; blood, cigarette butt, chewing gum, fingerprints. Locating and identifying human DNA is difficult, expensive and time-consuming. Criminals know to hide behind hoodies, hats or face coverings, concealing their identity from being identified by CCTV cameras or facial recognition. Blending forensic science with advanced electronic technologies, DNA Guardian sprays a unique, synthetic DNA solution onto criminals as they leave a building. Each solution is unique to your business - like a fingerprint - colourless, odourless, nontoxic and invisible to the naked eye. The solution can stay on skin for up to six weeks and remain on goods and weapons for years, irrefutably providing a connection to the crime scene.
Tania JolleyP: 0404 099 662