High Gear: Anti-Theft Dots, micro-technology to fight bike theft
Anti theft dots By the Numbers
0.2 millimeter dots
Each is laser etched with a serial number
Free to register online
Retail: $4.95 - $39.95
Editor’s note: High Gear features outdoor sports gear, technology and innovations useful in the High Sierra and America’s West.
Go to any college town, resort area or major metropolitan police department, and they’ll likely tell you bike theft is a big concern. Whether it’s proving an item is stolen or finding the original owners, returning items can be a challenge for any police department. Anti-Theft Dots is a new company aiming to change that through a new way to register personal belongings. It’s a system that is applicable to more than just bikes, and it starts with their High Security DNA technology. The company offers a few different means of applying this technology, but each system is based on the same base substance. It’s a high-grade, clear, adhesive embedded with a number of 0.2 millimeter micro dots — smaller than a grain of sand. Each dot is laser etched with a six-digit alpha-numeric pin, and designed to withstand temperatures up to 2,000 degrees. The glue is also made to resist strong solvents, high temperatures and salt water. It will glow under a blacklight as well — making it easy for police to detect. Product users can register those micro dot pin numbers online in the company’s police-accessible Law Enforcement National Recover Data Base free of charge.
The system requires a local police department to adopt the program, which they can also do free of charge, company director of law enforcement relations Shawn Andreas said. As part of the program, Anti-Theft Dots will supply law enforcement agencies that enroll with the tools used to read the microscopic pin numbers.
“I think it’s a great technology,” Sargent Travis Cabral of property crime division of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department said. “Anything we can do to assist with our efforts in property crime is welcome.”
South Lake Tahoe Police Department is one of roughly 1,200 law enforcement agencies that have recently adopted the program. Andreas said he expects around 3,000 agencies to adopt it by year’s end, adding that it has the potential to eventually be adopted by any the nation’s over 36,000 law enforcement groups. Any law agency can currently access the database, but would need the tools to detect and read the micro dots.
“We’re really at the breakout point of the program,” Andreas said of the California company’s early progress. “The number of requests that have come out from all over the country have been overwhelming.”
Beyond bikes, the stickers and micro dot glue can be applied to any number of products, from electronics to outdoor gear.
Anti-Theft Dots currently offers five different products, including visible single application stickers, an applicator pen and aerosol paint, which can be applied to over 50 items with the same pin. The individual stickers will retail for around $5 and have the micro dots embedded in the glue — so if a thief removes the sticker, the micro dots will remain on the item. Other products and kits range between $30 and $40. Each are a one-time charge and items can be registered in the database free of charge.
South Lake Tahoe Police Department officially unveiled the program at the grand opening of the Bijou Bike Park on Saturday, Sept. 19, handing out free Anti-Theft Dot stickers to those in attendance.
Cabral said the response exceeded expectation.
“Something like 130 people registered (online) after that one event,” he said.
Measuring the program’s effectiveness will take some time, Andreas explained, describing the need for a “traction period” for the technology to be more widely dispersed.
Cabral called the new technology a valuable asset to local police.
“This is just one of many technologies we’ll be using in the next few months,” he said of the department’s expanded effort to fight property crime.
Products will be available locally at South Shore Bikes, Tahoe Sports LTD, and Alpine Computers. Ace Hardware may also stock them in the future. In other regions, Andreas said their products are being offered at larger retailers like Target. The Reno Police Department also adopted the program and Andreas believes Carson City will later this year.
More information is available at http://www.antitheftdots.com.
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