Smothering Crime With Security Fog

In the fight against crime, some North Texas business owners are turning to an innovative weapon that's been used in Canada and Europe for years -- fog combined with a flashing strobe light.

Community Pharmacy in Denton has suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses from several breakins. Kelly Selby said one incident convinced him to try something besides surveillance cameras and sirens.

"I found a full-size dumpster inside the pharmacy department," he said. "They were ready to load up everything in the pharmacy."

Selby installed a system that's manufactured by Flashfog Security in Canada. If a burglar breaks in, the system floods the business with a dense fog similar to what's used in theaters and nightclubs. An intense strobe light blinds and disorients the crook.

Advanced Virtual Surveillance installs the system in North Texas.

"The whole thing just becomes very drastic," said AVS' Hamed Mazrouei. "A burglar wonders, 'What did I just get myself into?'"

Mazrouei said the cost to install the system starts at around $3,000.

Police point out that the system blinds interior security cameras as well as criminals. Officers who respond to a burglary also will not enter a building when they can't see who's inside. Local firefighters must be informed so they don't mistake the fog for smoke.

But Selby said he's satisfied with the system. Since installing it, he's had another break-in.

"All they took was the TV that was right by the door, and they left," he said.

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