Coral Gables, Fla., police will begin placing a DataDot signature on property under a pilot program. City residents can have the data dots applied to their cars and other property without charge.

A laser is used to engrave the tiny dots with identification information, such as a vehicle identification number or a personal identification number stored in a national database.

Police use a swab to apply the dots on property, which is invisible without aid of a UV-black light. A 30x magnifying glass or microscope can be used to read the ID number and identify the owner of the property.

The Coral Gables Citizens' Crime Watch is funding the program, which will result in the return of more stolen property to its rightful owners. A study by Australia-based National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council concluded that the use of the dots by BMW Australia has lowered vehicle thefts or the number of unrecovered BMWs by 60 percent.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Miami Herald (06/05/04) P. B1; Sigler, Eunice .