Smart Water Experiment

By Julie Montanaro
December 5, 6:55pm

A crime fighting spray may be keeping burglars at bay in a few Tallahassee neighborhoods. Early indications are that Smart Water, a specially coded glow in the dark liquid, could be making thieves think twice.

This summer residents in Tallahassee's Holly Hills, Forest Heights and Kentwood Estates became the first in the country to try out Smart Water, and at first blush it seems to be working.

"Looking at the first few months, we've had eight or nine residential burglaries and auto burglaries total in the Holly Hills, Forest Heights area. If you were to look at last year in about that same time period, we would have expected to see 20 to 25," said Greg Frost with the Tallahassee Police Department.

"A year ago, we had some problems," said Mike Kinnison, president of the local homeowners association. “We had a rash of burglaries in the neighborhood and we haven't had that occurring."

While Smart Water may not be entirely responsible for the drop in burglaries in these neighborhoods, both officers and residents have no doubt it's a contributing factor.

"Crime is down and that's a positive sign, so we're just hoping that trend continues," Kinnison said.

The clear, specially coded liquid glows under ultra violet light, and much like a high-tech serial number it can tie stolen goods to a specific crime scene.

Many Tallahassee pawn shops have been outfitted with those ultra violet lights, but right now owners say there's no way to tell the difference between a stolen item and one that has lawfully changed hands.

"I'm somewhat skeptical about it, but a lot of times I'm skeptical of new technology, so we'll see how it works out," said Mark Folmar, owner of Folmar Gun and Pawn.

Tallahassee police say they'll continue to study crime patterns in the neighborhoods using Smart Water and say it will be at least a year before they make any decisions about continuing or expanding or the program.