Graffiti detector helps police target taggers

Police in the US are trialling a tool that is designed to deter and detect graffiti.

Jul 22, 2010
By Paul Jacques

Police in the US are trialling a tool that is designed to deter and detect graffiti.

Graffiti is a $22 billion annual problem in the US, but the Merlin anti-graffiti sensor detects graffiti as vandals apply it and alerts police. The sensors are installed in places where such vandalism is a problem and an officer’s pager buzzes whenever the hidden sensor trips.

In one area where the US-made Merlin detector has been deployed, graffiti incidents dropped from 85 in 2008 to 48 in 2009. So far this year, there have been just ten incidents.

The Merlin graffiti detection sensor has been designed to be covert, versatile and cost-effective. Advanced heuristics and algorithms allow Merlin to identify and characterise a graffiti event by intelligent recognition of a graffiti ‘fingerprint’ or ‘tag’. This has proved to be both reliable and accurate, and by integrating it into an existing alarm infrastructure, event detection and notification is immediate. Size, coverage area and cost are similar to standard passive infra red (PIR) motion detectors, with wired, battery-powered and stand-alone versions available.

 

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