After 15 years in the United Kingdom, SmartWater CSI is now bringing what's in a little bottle to the United States to help fight crime.
And Saturday, it started by giving the water to 500 residents of the South Middle River neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, said to have one of the highest break-in and theft rates in the city.
“We have several youths that drive around on bicycles and telephone other people and let them know the resident is out of the house so they could go in, smash a window, break in,” said Sal Gatanio, with the South Middle River Neighborhood Civic Association.
Residents eagerly registered and picked up a SmartWater kit, ready to fight back. Residents dab their property with the clear liquid, which is a forensic formula unique to each owner that has its own tracking number that goes in a law enforcement database.
A UV light detects that mark on residents’ property and on thieves -- proof that the property belongs to victimized residents and proof that the property was stolen.
SmartWater CSI provides its own labels to residents who participate in the program, which can be put up on the side of homes to warn thieves to stay out.
One resident, John Murray, already put up warning signs, cameras and alarms after thieves burglarized his home two times last year, leaving him with thousands of dollars in loss and damage.
He marks everything with the solution, including his television, cellphone and laptop.
He said: "It’s such a violation of when you work hard at something and you're working and you're paying your bills and you're doing the best to protect your house and you step away from your house for a couple weeks and you come back to just complete devastation."
He continued: "It's just annoying. And you know the police are doing the best they can but they can't be everywhere all the time."