By James Neely/Guest Author
Serious crimes like murder or sexual assault deserve serious consequences. In the overcrowded U.S. prison system, however, sometimes law enforcement departments need to make arrangements for suspected criminals to be placed under house arrest or institute monitored parole for offenders. Unfortunately, many convicted criminals find it all too easy to break parole and commit further crimes even while under supervision. Victim advocates continually lobby for more effective laws and better prevention procedures, but both individuals and law enforcement departments can work together to reduce the prevalence of crimes committed by known criminals when they implement GPS tracking devices into their normal routines.
Many law enforcement departments already use GPS tracking ankle bracelets to monitor convicted criminals who have been placed under house arrest or who have been granted parole. These devices keep track of a person’s whereabouts at all times by sending a signal to the police department computer at specified intervals. In addition, police can set up perimeter boundaries around the person’s home or around specific off-limits areas such as schools and playgrounds. If the boundary is crossed, the device will send an alert by email or pager, enabling officers to address the violation immediately.
Sometimes, however, ankle bracelets are not enough to keep crimes from happening. Criminals can remove bracelets or can commit attempted murders, attempted assaults, and other crimes while wearing the bracelet. Although police officers make an effort to respond as quickly as possible, the damage may already be done. For parents, knowing that paroled criminals wear ankle bracelets may not be enough to alleviate fear, especially if their children or teens walk home from school or must be at home alone while the parents are at work. In these cases, parents should equip their children with personal GPS tracking devices for safety. Children can easily carry the device in a backpack or pocket, and some can even be worn as a watch. With the device in place, parents can monitor their children’s location at all times and can immediately check up on them when they don’t answer the phone or make it to a friend’s house at the expected time.
GPS tracking provides individuals and law enforcement departments with the tools they need to increase safety and awareness. GPS tracking does have limitations, but when both society and individuals take the initiative to use the technology to best advantage, communities can expect safer streets and safer kids.