WTF? Area secured by DNA spray

06 Feb 2010 | 348 words | amsterdam cycling netherlands security urbanism

Thursday night when cycling home from the north i spotted this sign on a lamp pole at the beginning of Ferdinad Bol straat close to where i live:

Area secured by DNA-SPRAY – the police

I am not even sure how many things are wrong with this sign, but here are a few that went through my head after i had taken this photo:

  1. how the fuck to you secure an area with a (DNA) spray? does it randomly spray something on people that are deemed to be a threat to security? or do they mix something into the air that makes people behave more securely?
  2. who’s DNA is it that is in they use for this spray? isn’t your DNA private? how come the cops have someone’s DNA to spray around with?
  3. if this is where the DNA spray area starts, where does it end? so far i have not seen any signs that mark the end of the secured area. what if i am not interested in their security and their DNA how can i cycle around the area then?
  4. and most importantly, who the fuck has asked for this? i for one do not want no DNA spray on my daily cycle route to work which as far as i can judge was plenty ‘secure’ even before they started messing with this. and why was there no public discussion of some sorts about this?

After a bit of googling it turns out that the signs are a rather blatant lie. apparently the police and the borough have decided to install spray installations in a few stores that can be used to mark robbers with some kind of substance that is encoded with a unique id of the store. apparently this substance is really hard to get of your body and can be made visible with UV light for a long while. Pretending that this scheme somehow secures ‘the area’ is as much bullshit as calling a spray with an embedded ID ‘DNA spray’. Rather pathetic that the cops get away with this kind of bullshit…