Technology helps fight crime in Oakland

July 31, 2008 7:01:58 PM PDT
Ex-cons in Oakland will have 'big brother' watching more closely. A number of parolees will be fitted with a GPS device that can track their every move.

A GPS monitoring device helps tracking every move someone on probation makes. Some sounds mean a criminal is in trouble again.

"This technology is really a gift to public safety, to the community in particular," said Jeff Israel from Oakland Police Department.

The electronic bracelet it can be tracked in real time, and is equipped with cellular technology so authorities can actually call a criminal to check in.

It's will be the second time Oakland will use the GPS bracelets in a pilot program.

"We know that we have seen in the city of Oakland a rise in crime and most of these crimes are committed by repeat offenders that are on probation," said Jeff Thomason.

The hope is that this is going stop high-risk offenders from violating their probation. The reality is that it will more likely catch them in the act. While the Oakland PD calls their last pilot program a success, the fact is each person that was issued an ankle bracelet ended up violating their probation anyway.

"It's 100 percent successful because there's immediate notification if someone has violated the terms of their probation, which today we don't have; that's how we gauge success," said Israel.

Even if it's not a major deterrent, the manufacturer says at least you can track an offender down.

"So if they cut it, they basically have 60 seconds to run and we know where they were and where they are," said David Meibert from Secure Alert.

By the end of the year, 20 former prisoners should be wearing the monitors at a cost of $6.50 per day.

"These are people who have already shown that, even on probation, they cannot comply with the law. There is an overwhelming need to supervise such individuals and the resources just aren't there, so this kind of technology is really a force multiplier for law enforcement," said Israel.


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