Can Forensic Tagging Reduce Shrink?

According to the most recent edition of the annual National Retail Security Survey (NRSS), retail shrink topped $50 billion in 2018.

Historically, retailers devoted most of their loss prevention resources to technology that protects merchandise itself rather than apprehending the culprits. The NRSS found that 46% of retailers were using merchandise alarms (electronic security tags), while 35% reported using acousto-magnetic security tags.

However, some companies have started to develop solutions to identify the perpetrators of retail crime, for a greater deterrent effect. One company on the frontline of these efforts is SelectaDNA which tags criminals with a uniquely identifiable spray.

“What we are is a forensic marking technology. Every unit of the forensic solution we make has a unique code in it, it’s never replicated. So when it’s applied under certain circumstances – either to the person or the item – we can tell where they were marked, and the date and time they were marked,” explains Joe Maltese, Vice President of Marketing and Operations for CSI Protect, the company that is distributing SelectaDNA in the U.S.

“It’s providing irrefutable evidence to law enforcement that links a person or item to a crime scene. You can think of it as an invisible serial number that stays on your skin or clothing for a couple of months.”

In European countries the technology has been available for nearly a decade. Maltese says retailers that have deployed SelectaDNA have experienced crime reductions ranging between 40% and 86%.

“If you can reduce the risk of getting robbed by 70%, that’s really significant and that’s the kind of results we’re getting in Denmark,” says Henrik Friborg Jacobsen, an investor in SelectaDNA who is also a co-founder and board member of Milestone Systems.

Easy Installation

In stores with SelectaDNA, when a cashier is robbed, the system can be triggered by removing money from the cash drawer in a certain way – at which point spray heads installed at thresholds of the retailer’s entry and exit points will dispense a mist, invisible to the naked eye, on the perpetrator.

“It’s highly programmable. There’s a control box and the spray heads with a very fine, invisible mist so you don’t know you’re getting sprayed. It can be deployed from the ceiling, wall, doorway, above safes or the point of sale, or wherever you want to cover such situations as burglary, robbery, theft, unauthorized access, etc.,” Maltese adds.”

The company is now starting to integrate with access control and video management systems (VMS). SelectaDNA has integrated first with Milestone VMS, which was highlighted in their booth at the recent Milestone Integration Platform Symposium (MIPS) in Dallas, Texas.

The VMS-integrated solution can be remotely or internally activated based on the configuration of the video surveillance, or programmed with a rule to do it automatically based on a sensor.

Proven Results

In Copenhagen, Jacobsen says that approximately half the supermarkets have this technology installed, and they have experienced quite impressive results with regards to crime reduction.

“There has been a huge decrease in violent crime due to the DNA remote tagging system,” says Henrik Olsen, CEO of CSI Protect. The company currently has active deployments in the thousands across 35 countries with approximately 1,000 systems in Denmark alone, according to Olsen.

See the full loss prevention article on SelectaDNA by Joel Griffin, the Editor-in-Chief of 

Read also the Global Launch of SelectaDNA with Milestone VMS on Security.World

Read the Launch of SelectaDNA on SDM Magazine.