New Program Tracks Sex Offenders With GPS

Violation of civil rights or security breakthrough? A pilot program in Pittsburgh is tracking sex offenders via GPS.

43 sex offenders in Allegheny County are now wearing ankle monitoring devices as a condition of their parole; if they travel into an "exclusion area," like a school or a playground, law enforcement is notified. Says DA Stephen Zappala, "Because the psychology of the crime of the criminal actually is, they will re-offend and so we're looking at persons who are recidivist...These particular offenders we know where they are 24/7, the police patrol with purpose. If you have children especially, I think that's really significant."

Of course, these offenders' details are already posted on registries. But immediately alarm bells go off when we hear this: it seems like a slippery slope, and given the broad definition of "sex offender," we wonder if the same policies apply across the board or only for those cases in which the bracelets directly relate to the crime — in this case, offenses against children. Besides which, how effective is the system? It may well keep offenders off playgrounds, but is that where the majority of these crimes take place — or are many in people's homes or otherwise "safe"-seeming environments? That said, it may indeed reassure parents — and maybe that's part of the point.

[Image via
Shutterstock]
Pilot Program Uses GPS Technology To Track Sex Offenders [CBS]