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Machine deploys fog in retail stores to deter burglars

Machine emits fog in effort to stop retail thieves
Machine emits fog in effort to stop retail thieves 02:32

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A burglar who can't see something can't steal it either – that is the idea behind a new method of deterring crime by using fog.

As CBS 2's Tara Molina reported Tuesday, the technology behind the fog release is a brand-new way of fighting the mass retail thefts plaguing the city.

In Lincoln Park, one small business was hit by thieves and cleared out twice in a year. The owner knows how badly it hurts.

"My store was robbed almost six months ago, and I still don't have a settlement from my insurance company," the owner said.

It is a problem that has been plaguing business across Chicago for years.

"Look at Michigan Avenue," the Lincoln Park business owner said. "We're down 30 percent. People are just moving out."

Problem, meet solution. It comes in an opaque white box – and it may not look like much at first glance. But it only takes seconds for the box to make the difference.

"DensityUSA's instant fog technology is pretty unique," said Mike Egel, president and chief executive officer of DensityUSA. "When a criminal breaks in after hours, the alarm deploys; the fog deploys, and in seconds, your business is going to be protected."

Security Fog Protects A Gunshop by DensityUSA on YouTube

The reason, Egel said, is because the burglars won't be able to see what they're doing.

"They literally can't see it to steal it," he said.

Security Fog Demonstration by DensityUSA on YouTube

DensityUSA's non-toxic, no-grime fog tech is being used across the world - successfully, according to Egel. But the tech just started rolling out in the U.S.

"So our line is warn, alert, repel - and the repel actually works," Egel said.

Robbery clip 2 by DensityUSA on YouTube

We ran the numbers. Both theft and robbery are up this year in Chicago.

Theft is at the highest level we have seen since 2019, robbery at the highest level since 2018.

This tech aims to prevent another hit like the kind the Lincoln Park business suffered twice.

The basic model runs around $7,000.

"It'll fill up about 1,000 square feet in roughly 15 seconds," Egel said.

The Lincoln Park store is the first in Chicago, and in Illinois, to put the fog to the test. The owner didn't want herself or her store identified, but she did want to share information about the fog tech with other business owners – and with the public at large.

"It just gives me peace of mind," the business owner said. "I sleep better."

DensityUSA's technology has been in place in the Lincoln Park store for about a month. They haven't had to use it yet.

The owner hopes it will make all the difference.

The DensityUSA technology is being used in stores across the country in states like California, Missouri, and Tennessee. The company is talking to retailers now interested in bringing more of the tech to Chicago.

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