Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Your alarm system went off, but you don't know who entered your house
  [vote for,

This would be really cool if it would work.

In many situations, people use systems to thwart off enemies like thieves, robbers and rapists.

-For the home, there's all kinds of alarm systems.

-For the woman walking through the ghetto late at night, there's the no-contact electro-shock jacket, which fends off rapists.

-For shops and banks, there's the video-camera system.

In many of these situations, you fended the criminal off, but you never know who really attacked you. You may have captured his (masked) body on a camera, but you're not sure who it is.

Police and prosecuters have to establish "beyond a reasonable doubt" whether the suspect they're holding is the real one. Genetic evidence is great, but often difficult to obtain.

Now here come in the CrimeTags. They're basically the opposite of genetic traces: if the criminal doesn't leave traces on you or your property, you or your property leave traces on them. These microscopic particles are sprayed onto the non-suspecting criminal so that he can be identified with 100% certainty at a later date. This dust carries information.

The characteristics of these particles are:

-They stick not only to clothes, but they attach themselves to the skin: if you try to rub them off, they bury themselves deeper into the skin and the clothes. (You can easily create these, mimicking certain seeds with this quality, which can be found in nature; they stick and bury themselves into the skin of animals who carry them along for days. And it's very difficult to wash them off.)

-They are coded; these dust tags have a special unique code, with which you can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that this particular person was present at this particular spot.

The potential applications are manifold:

-home alarm systems -no contact jackets which spew out a fine dust -military: targetbomb clouds of dust onto militias in Najaf, so that you can establish at a later date that these persons were at this particular spot, and are enemy combattants, beyond a reasonable doubt -car security, etc...

They would come in handy when genetic evidence is of questionable quality, or when other dust particles (from carpets, etc) are too common to establish 100% sure that the criminal was in your home.

django, Aug 21 2004

Some Tagging Systems http://www.abc.net..../moments/s42124.htm
.. this is about explosive tagging but is an okay summary of a few technologies .. [bpilot, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Screaming Burglar Balls http://www.halfbake...g_20Burglar_20Balls
Tag the guy -- tag him good. [Amos Kito, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Microdots http://www.wired.co...,1282,50598,00.html
[po] Tinkerbell's Fairy Dust :) [ConsulFlaminicus, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Dust http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust
[shibolim, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Smart Water http://www.smartwater.com
Spray-on coded water - a unique molecular 'fingerprint' [Anchovy, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       You're right. This *could* be really cool if it would work.
Machiavelli, Aug 21 2004

       needs tinkerbell's fairy dust.
po, Aug 21 2004

       Interesting. See link. I think you'd have to develop a decaying taggant to defeat the alibi that the substance was transferred in some untraceable way.
bpilot, Aug 21 2004

       And if the dust makes the assailant sneeze, you can analyze the mucus.   

       Plenty of criminal deterrent systems tag the perps with dyes. Nothing new here.
DrCurry, Aug 22 2004

       [DrC] with a dye the perpetrator knows he's marked and may have a chance to remove the evidence, given time. He might not think about it with a non- obvious taggant. Also, [django] points out there are other possible applications which would not work with a dye.
bpilot, Aug 22 2004

       According to wikipedia [link], house dust contains sloughed skin cells and fibers from clothing and coverings, so it can be used as evidence.
shibolim, Aug 23 2004

       [shibolim] true, but the tags I'm proposing have many more applications where "house dust" is absent.   

       Moreover, "house dust" doesn't stick to the skin of the intruder (after he's taken a shower). The tags do. (Because of their structure).
django, Aug 23 2004

       I've seen Smart Water (see link) being used on UK student campuses, and the like. Covers a good part of the issues that [django] lays out.
Anchovy, Aug 23 2004

       Anchovy, that's a great website. It's exactly what I'm talking about. So this idea is rather baked.
django, Aug 23 2004

       If you stabbed the attacker you probibly would end up with a bit of his DNA.
andrew1, Sep 27 2005

       Another tagging system is called the "Bullet." These are very hard to remove without medical experts, who are required by law to report the incident.   

       Sadly, there are a lot of laws about the use of these tagging devices, and their delivery system.   

       Perhaps a toned down shotgun shell, filled with those little "explosive" tags would be of some use. Not enough to really kill, or even seriously maim, but it would spit them out fast enough to get through the perp's skin.   

       There would probably be a lot of laws about that too, and apparently any device designed to do this would be a legal nightmare, so the homeowner would have to shoot them themselves, and if it came to that, as a home owner, I would prefer to use something a little more substantial.
ye_river_xiv, Jun 19 2006

       I think purses should just have cameras on the outside, continually uploaded to the cloud. For the purseless there could be a little zipper pull camera or Shoe gem.
beanangel, Sep 24 2017

       Wow, that SmartWater company is still around and looks legit. I wonder how it works. They say it's not DNA-based.
notexactly, Feb 07 2018

       Their homepage now claims "securing the blockchain" as one of their applications. I suspect their marketing people put that there without consulting anyone.
pertinax, Feb 09 2018

       Yes they did, they listened to the Voices In Their Heads. That's all the dolts from marketing ever do.
8th of 7, Feb 09 2018


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