Farmington Public Safety launches ‘DNA’ for property program

A business that offers a high-tech registration program for personal property is launching its Michigan presence with the Farmington Public Safety Department.

ProtechDNA
Farmington Public Safety Commander Justin DuLong shows a ProtechDNA bike kit and container of tiny dots that can help recover stolen items.

Commander Justin DuLong said Thursday that ProtechDNA company president Shawn Andreas contacted the department about six months ago to pitch the “DNA for property” system. Residents may purchase a gun kit for $10, a bicycle kit for $20, or a $35 kit that will cover around 100 household items.

Each contains tiny dots, visible only under a black light, that can be attached to personal belongings. Once registered on the ProtechDNA website, users can upload photos of their tagged items, and those become part of a national database. DuLong said belongings can be recovered whether or not they are individually registered.

“You have your model number, your serial number on a laptop, but what do you do for your ratchet set or jewelry?” he said. “This allows you to mark it with something invisible to the naked eye.”

The packages come with signs to warn intruders that items in the home are marked and registered. That alone creates a deterrent, Andreas said. “Criminals look for a quick opportunity to sell. If they know the property can be identified, they know the possibility of them being caught is increased.”

ProtechDNA
Shawn Andreas from ProtechDNA shows how tiny dots used to recover stolen property show under black light.

Andreas explained that police departments receive, at no cost, a black light and a special magnifier to read the chemically etched numbers unique to each kit. Officers can check the company’s international database to locate owners and return property.

The adhesive on the dots is durable; the company tagged a Florida boat that was in saltwater for several years, and they stayed put, Andreas said. With items that are frequently cleaned or jewelry that is often worn and removed, the dots may eventually need to be replaced.

DuLong hopes ProtechDNA kits will cut down on the backlog of property in the department’s evidence room, items that investigators can’t identify and so can’t return. He said officers recently delivered 14 recovered bicycles to a charity in Detroit.

“And that was our winter bicycles,” he added. “We get 40 to 50 bicycles every summer.”

ProtechDNA kits can be purchased via the company’s website, protechdna.com, and will be available in local gun shops, bicycle shops, and hardware stores.

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