Problems Monitoring Criminals with a GPS Tracker

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By Greg Bartlett

Using a GPS tracker to monitor criminals is a relatively new idea. It is commonly used to keep track of offenders on probation to make sure that they follow the rules that have been laid down for them. It is also being considered in several states to track sexual assault offenders after they have been released from prison. This will hopefully add another measure of protection and some accountability for the offenders after they have served their jail term and are released.


However, there are a few problems with the GPS tracking bracelets that criminals are forced to wear. For one thing, it is very easy to tamper with the systems. A GPS tracker runs on a battery and must be charged frequently. A convict that does not want to be monitored could simply let the battery run down and then he could go anywhere with complete freedom and no one to check up on him. These ankle bracelets could also be cut off or the GPS tracker could be cut open and tampered with.

Many GPS tracking systems are waterproof but if the device were cut open, water could damage the electronic components inside the device. Some devices are more tamperproof than others, but even the best devices still have to be charged, leaving the criminals with at least one good option.

Another problem with these GPS tracking bracelets is that it does not necessarily tell you if the offender is doing something wrong. If an offender goes to a house during the day, it could be to visit a friend or it could be to burglarize them in the daytime.  Criminals can get into trouble in a number of fairly innocent places, so it is important to keep in mind that a GPS tracking device is not complete protection and should be used along with several other methods.

Also, some criminals are monitored using passive tracking devices, which while being cheaper, are not necessarily very helpful. If a criminal manages to run away while wearing a passive tracking device, the police have no way to get the information because they cannot retrieve the device. On the other hand, a real time device could be set to signal the authorities if the criminals goes a certain distance away from his home. Although GPS technology can be very helpful in the criminal system, it cannot replace probation officers in keeping a careful eye on criminal offenders.

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