Sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles have unleashed a new weapon in the war on crime: SkunkShot, the New York Times says. It is remarkably small, inexpensive, stunningly low-tech, and incredibly effective. “I was kind of grousing with some friends,” said Lt. Shaun Mathers of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “What could we do to make our officers more visible in the community? And someone said, `Maybe we could use a good odor, like fresh baked cookies.’ As I was driving home, it struck me. Maybe there’s a value in a bad odor.”
The goal was to clear out vacant buildings that become magnets for prostitutes, drug dealers, and gangs. He and Deputy Scott Gage found the petroleum-based gel SkunkShot on the Internet.
The first success of the “Skunk Squad” came last spring. In an old vacant motel populated by drug users, deputies took several $15 tubes of SkunkShot and spread them around after clearing the building of drug users and prostitutes. Several hours later, it was still vacant. “It’s horrible, just unbearable for two days,” Mathers said. “After five or six days you can still smell it. We even got in a battle of smells with the folks there. They were bringing cans of Glade and scented candles, but that stuff just can’t compete.”
The inventor of SkunkShot, an Australian named Andrew Rakich, is a laser and satellite engineer who came up with the product 10 years ago as an aerosol for women to fend off attackers or as an animal repellent for gardeners.