Anti-crime DNA sprays in a reader's neighborhood

Jantine sez, "January 10th I received this letter from my district officials saying they;ve installed DNA spray in the area I live in. I've posted the letter, pic of the sign and some translated excerpts on my blog for the time being."
Dear resident, to reduce the number of hold ups, the shopping streeds in West will be equipped with DNA-sprays from january 2011 onwards. The DNA-spray is an extra means beside the camera surveillance which district West in our effort to improve the safety in the shopping area...

The procedure is simple: during a holdup a nebula of invisible liquid with a synthetic DNA code is spread in the space. the liquid attaches itself to the clothes and skin of the perpetrator and cannot simply be washed off. DNA-spray is practically invisible to the human eye, but lights up under UV-light. Suspects with traces of DNA-spray are easily traceble to the scene of the crime for the police.

DNA spray installed in my neigborhood (Amsterdam West) (Thanks, Jantine!)


  1. I guess the average street crime provider might fall for this. It has inspired me to install a sign on my house that say’s “This house has been painted with extra CSI Miami”

      1. In the UK we have this new thing called The Big Society. Basically, everyone pitches in to provide crime to their local communities on a voluntary basis. We’re all in this together!

        1. Basically, everyone pitches in to provide crime to their local communities on a voluntary basis.

          Communists. This is supposed to be handled by the free market.

          1. I’m no expert in these matters, but I’m led to believe that capitalists have no interest in engaging in criminal behaviour. After all, crime doesn’t pay.

      2. “Where does your community get its crime from?”

        Luxury! In my day we had to walk uphill both ways, against the wind, in the snow, to get our street crime. And we were thankful!

  2. I’m not a fan of the iconography, because none of it says “DNA” to me. Looks like somebody afraid of tanning cause he forgot his SPF 50. Shouldn’t there be a double helix in there somewhere?

  3. And what would a positive result signify besides your having had contact with someone who was sprayed? So unless the atomizer has some special way to spray only the intended person…. this is completely worthless.

  4. This isn’t a whole lot different from those ink packs that they put in the money they give to bank robbers, except that the spray is almost invisible and (seemingly) would have a wider range. I think it would be a good tool for establishing that someone was at the scene of a crime. I just hope this stuff isn’t toxic.

    Also, the “DNA” name kind of irks me. Am I the only one that hates when they call something DNA when it’s not? It seems like willful disinformation…

    1. Like you, I think calling something DNA when it’s not DNA is a bad idea. There are so many awesome-sounding words that mean nothing, why should Marketing use that one?

      bbomb, were you able to find out what the solution actually consists of? I can’t read the letter in Dutch.

  5. While you probably still think of this town as the Great Rock Candy Mountain, it has gradually become “safer” over the last several years. I’ve had to endure a preventive patdown at the Wibautstraat metro station a little while back, not even at the gates mind you, so I feel mighty safe.

  6. [Insert dirty DNA spray joke here]

    Seriously, couldn’t they have used something less…gross. I’m picturing a hotel room on CSI, all aglow with semen under the blacklight.

  7. I’ve lived in Amsterdam “Old South” for about eight months now. See the signs pretty often yet I have mysteriously not been curious enough to try and look it up.

  8. Now that these systems are in place, criminals will be forced to go through the tedious process of changing their clothes if they happen to be sprayed by the crime-detecting computer that sprays aerosolized semen. Good thing black lights aren’t incredibly cheap and available at most local hardware stores.

    Or, they have to mug people at least 10 feet from these signs while wearing the terribly expensive and rare masks or hoods that block the cameras.

  9. Sir, the thief’s partner forgot to pick him up, and he didn’t have enough money for the bus! We finally caught him with our new DNA technology.

    Well I guess you could say he was…




  10. “Well, y’see, officer, I was just at a wild orgy, and that’s why I’ve got DNA all over my jacket. That stuff don’t just wash out, y’know….”

  11. Considering it takes just a few particles of the stuff to successfully ID you as having been at the crime scene, this stuff is pretty good.

    Also, it doesn’t rub off onto other people and dries almost instantly (it’s more a mist than a spray). Lasts for years, and since each batch is different, even if one person were sprayed by two, then it’s easy to identify the difference.

    Finally, whichever way you look at it, the term DNA is perfectly suitable, as each batch is different.

  12. They will get so many complaints from health nuts who fear that artificial DNA will turn them into mutants. They better change the liquid to all natural DNA as soon as possible.

  13. I’m happy about this, because it opens a whole new shadow industry of manufacturing DNA Spray for criminals, pranksters, and protesters. And Lord knows, we need new industries to stimulate the economy.

    And who knows how big this industry could become? Why, we may need to make loads of it, given the direction the world’s been headed.

    But I do have one bone to pick with the makers of this stuff: repressive governments will obviously abuse this technology when the people they’ve been given the shaft to stand up for their rights, making it easier for them to round up critics and gag dissenters.

    Shouldn’t the makers consider the possible ways this stuff will be used to limit freedom around the world?

  14. Wow, after reading the headline I thought: “What have they come up with this time in the US?”, flabbergasted to find out it’s in the Netherlands. Not like we’re not one of the creepier law enforcement countries around. Sjeez, I used to live near that hood.
    Yeaj Holland!

  15. I dunno if it’s just a weird translation or just my own sleep deprivation, but this doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Anyway, all jizz-humor aside (I can’t improve on the above commentary nohow), I think the good ol’ exploding paint packs are still the way to go. I know a guy who did time for a bank robbery. He ended up with a sackful of $$ with the paint-bomb in it, got splattered from top to toe, and beat feet down the street. He was soon found hiding underneath an overturned garbage can.

    The image tickles me no end. For what it’s worth, he’s rehabilitated quite nicely. Your mom would love him.

  16. Hummm, not be a dick, or anything, but there are 2 minor points of contention about this.

    1. Stiff breeze
    2. It is a chemical. Do these jokers actually think that someone WON’T come up with an agent that will, nullify, this chemical?

    Also, imagine if you will, you’re being mugged, right under one of these nozzles. Both you and the mugger are going to get hosed. With out some kind of, secondary system, (Cameras can be blinded), it will be your word against theirs. And you both will have fake jizz all over you.

    Really, someone didn’t think this through.

  17. Sorry Anon@10:15, it looks like I was wrong about it not containing DNA — according to Mister44’s link, the Anti-Crime DNA solution contains “a UV tracer and a unique DNA code”, and is “invisible and harmless”. That all sounds okay, but I wonder what sort of DNA and tracer they’re using and whether its harmlessness has been tested in aerosol forms. Also, the anti-GMO sentiment in Europe is a lot stronger than in the USA and I can’t imagine getting sprayed by some random, aerosolized DNA solution would go over well with a lot of people. But then, it’s all in the name of crime-stopping, right?

    The company website is pretty hilarious about their pro-fear campaign: “Our warning signs, posters and labels, telling criminals to stay away, are hugely effective because of the “DNA Fear Factor”. Our DNA evidence frightens criminals and provides the evidential chain Law Enforcement Officers require to be more effective in their jobs.” (from

  18. Um yeah, so all I need is a quick spray of DNAse and I’m in the clear. Really not the best thing to pick for labeling.

  19. I’m VERY confused. Where are the nozzles located, on light poles and such? How does a nozzle know when to spray? Does a law enforcement officer have to remotely trigger the nozzle when he/she observes what they think is a mugging going on, through a CCTV? What is the range of the spray from the nozzle and how will it keep from spraying others (who may look like the mugger). This isn’t making sense.

  20. It really is synthetic DNA, and every different location has a different genetic code. And I suppose the code could be changed over time.

    So once detected and decoded, I’d think that would be pretty good evidence that you were in a particular location, possibly at a particular time. And assuming it’s only sprayed during a crime, that would also narrow down the circumstances.

  21. According to the company’s FAQ, this whole system depends on a database that’s “totally secure and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to the Police.”

    So, there’s absolutely nothing that could possibly go wrong there then.

  22. I spray my haze plants with the CSI Miamisterdam DNA spray, and now I can see where my thoughts go, when I think of them.

  23. I live in this area, in practice it is much simpler than that:
    The victim calls the police,
    Police runs to the nearby area,
    first non-Dutch person they see is stopped and interrogated.

  24. It’s all fun and games until one of those random , unique synthetic DNA sequences just happens to code for telekinetic powers and piggybacks on a rhinovirus to insert itself into some criminal’s genome.

  25. just be happy it doesn’t make you sick enough to die if you don’t turn yourself in to a police station where you can get the antidote…

    -Lauren Beukes, Moxyland

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