GPS Tracking Systems For Stalkers
Public safety is always at the forefront of the conversation among political leaders and police agencies. This is because everyone wants to live in an environment that is secure and free from the criminal element. Unfortunately, many police departments are forced to work under tight budgets resulting in less manpower and resources. Thankfully, modern technology has been filling that gap by providing law enforcement agencies the tools necessary to perform at a high level. One of these tools is GPS tracking systems and the state of Indiana is now considering using real-time GPS tracking devices to track those charged with felony stalking.
The Story Of Dawn Hillyer
Dawn Hillyer is a resident of Fort Wayne, Indiana that understands in detail the terror felt from stalking. This is because for six years Hillyer was sent harassing emails, along with threatening text and voice messages to her cell phone by a man named Mike McClellan. Hillyer was tormented by her stalker which led to her fearing for her life on a daily basis. McClellan was eventually arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but Hillyer believes the state should do more to ensure the safety of the victims and that is why she is a strong proponent of using GPS tracking systems to track all felony stalkers that are released from jail.
How this GPS tracking plan would work is a rather simple process. Once the convicted stalker is released from incarceration they would be required to wear a GPS tracker that would be strapped to the ankle or wrist. The GPS tracking system would send out a signal providing locational data in real-time. The victim would be given a receiver that could detect the signal being transmitted from the GPS tracking device equipped on the stalker. Therefore, if that stalker gets anywhere near their past victim(s) they will be instantly alerted. Although the state of Indiana does not have legislation that offers this type of GPS tracking program at this point in time such a measure is gaining momentum. Especially, with other states already moving forward with plans to monitor stalkers and sexual offenders using GPS devices.
The Cost Of Safety
A chief deputy working for Allen County agrees that using real-time GPS tracking systems would provide additional safety for victims of stalking but also stated that using such tracking systems would create additional budgetary issues in a time when most states are seeing cutbacks across the board. His primary concern is that real-time GPS tracking systems require two costs: the hardware and data service. That means once the GPS trackers are purchased each tracking device would require a monthly service fee for as long as the tracker was in use. This monthly cost could be as high as $49.95 per unit, and therefore could be challenging to get taxpayers to cover that bill. The reality safety has a cost and sometimes there simply isn’t enough money in the bank to cover the costs for programs that use GPS tracking systems.
Do you think the state should invest in GPS tracker systems to better protect victims of stalking? Should the convicted stalkers be forced to pay for the costs associated with data and GPS tracking hardware?