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A Look at the UK's Fake Houses, Meant to Ensnare Burglars

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Here's a story, courtesy of Gizmodo, that's rife with reality-TV potential: dotted throughout the UK are so-called "capture houses," or fully furnished faux-homes rigged with hidden police cameras, all designed to ensnare unsuspecting burglars. First introduced in Leeds, England, in 2007, the houses have since cropped up across the region and are outfitted with covert cameras, plenty of high-priced goodies to serve as "bait," and—this last part straight out of a sci-fi movie—an odorless, invisible chemical called Smart Water, which coats unsuspecting thieves in bright green powder. A plan this elaborate seems to suggest a major crime wave sweeping the UK, but one police inspector admits that the success in attracting burglars is hit-or-miss. Some of the units are broken into on their very first day, while others stay untouched for almost a year.

The intention behind these capture houses, which are "completely indistinguishable from any other house in that street or area," according to a constable interviewed by the BBC, is twofold. The initiative is meant to catch criminals in the act, of course, but also hopes to hinder them with the fact that, at any given time, a home they chose to rob might just be a booby-trap, so well designed they'd never recognize it as a fake. Seriously, someone pitch this to Spike TV.

· Fully-furnished fake houses in UK run solely to trap Burglars [Gizmodo]
· SmartWater booby trap secretly turns thieves green for weeks [Gizmodo]