A New Electronic Sensor Named Mousetrap Sniffs Out Graffiti and Alerts the Police

A still from Wild Style.
Photo: Courtesy of altscreen.com.

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 12.15.16 PM

A new technology in Australia is being used to detect graffiti, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Mousetrap,” an electronic sensor, was originally tested on trains in Sydney, MSNBC reports. It detects the paint vapors and relays CCTV footage to Sydney Trains staff members, who then alert the police.

“Mousetrap is our latest weapon in the war against graffiti thugs damaging our trains. Vandals won’t know where and they won’t know when we’re watching,”Andrew Constance, minister for transport and infrastructure, said in a May 7 statement on Transport for New South Wales’s website—an official local government page.

The train company, which serves passengers traveling in and around the Sydney area and its suburbs, indicated that the kits are being used on a number of unspecified train lines.

The Sydney government has spent $25 million ($34 million AUS) cleaning up graffiti from its trains, and Sydney Trains reports that tagging is one of the top complaints from riders.

As for “Mousetrap,” Howard Collins, CEO of Sydney Trains, told MSNBC, “We’ve had over 70 instances of this kit being triggered. We’ve had 50 people being charged with offenses. And as we roll it out now to other trains it’s proven even more successful.”

It looks like train-traveling graffiti artists will have to be extra sly when they ride, or even consider abandoning the illicit hobby altogether, since by now, even Shepard Fairey can’t seem to escape the police.

However, there have been some snags in the fledgling program. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the device has issues detecting the difference between graffiti vapors and a rider traveling with regular house paint.

A still from Wild Style. Photo: Courtesy of altscreen.com.

A still from Wild Style (1983).
Photo: Courtesy of altscreen.com.

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