South African tombstone theft prevention (yes, really) takes the SMS road

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South Africa has long had issues with interesting thefts but the newest spate of crime in Johannesburg involves tombstones going missing, according to a report from the Associated Press. It’s not really a crime wave but the AP report says that 20 tombstones a month are being stolen from cemeteries around Johannesburg. A method of combating the problem, involving embedded microchips fitted with an alarm, is on the way.

Memorial Alert is the name of the system that will be rolled out nesby a private company, which is currently trialling using embedded transmitters that set off an alarm if a tombstone fitted with the technology is shifted around. The company’s setup also sends SMS messages to pre-designated family members and security companies if an attempt at stealing the tombstone takes place.

The concept is fairly similar to another South African initiative used to combat missing and stolen livestock, though the company which will be fitting these devices has yet to add GPS tracking to headstones. Cost and battery life are being citing as the reason why Memorial Alert won’t have a tracking option when it launches in 2014. But at least you’ll know if that headstone takes a walk.

Source: Associated Press via The Verge

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