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Fog Machine Stops Robbery

A man in Kaikohe, Northland, New Zealand strode into a convenience store with a machete. He was, of course, up to no good.

So the store manager activated his fog machine.

What, you don't have a fog machine in your home or place of business? This is, apparently, a long-used crime deterrent. Not only does the fog make seeing the loot and victims difficult. It can also coat the robber with traceable chemicals.

I had never heard of this, but now I think I really need one to get out of awkward conversations. For this scenario, a fog machine that hangs on my belt would be ideal. If find myself trapped in a one-sided conversation with someone who won't shut up, I can press the button and escape.

-via Boing Boing

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I learned that this actually has a name: security smoke, and it's been around for more than 25 years. The smoke makes it hard to see, so it actually reduces the loss (they can't steal what they can't see). It's also quite a surprise - and I suppose most criminals would run away rather than stick around and see what else is going to be triggered.
About identifying the perp - cameras would capture their image(s) before the smoke's deployed, but criminals usually hide their faces anyways, so the smoke's not a big factor in identification.
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More study needed for defensive options like this. I like the idea of coating a robber/thug like they do with bagged bank money.
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I'm wondering how this deterrent works. Does the fog do anything but hinder vision? Doesn't it also hurt the chances of identifying the perp too? I guess it worked this time but I'm not sure why.
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