Friday, November 4, 2011

GPS Tracking of Domestic Abusers Comes to New York City!

Earlier this week, Daniel Donovan, the District Attorney for the New York City Borough of Staten Island, announced that known domestic abusers would soon be required to wear GPS tracking devices to keep them away from past victims.  As envisioned by the program, if an abuser violates a "must keep away distance" set in a restraining order, the tracking device would trigger a text message to a victim's cell phone.  The victim could then take evasive action and call 911 for assistance.  Go here to read more.

Comment: This announcement came with all the fanfare one would expect from New York City politics.  Furthermore, the New York City press jumped on the story like it was a brand new concept.  Truth of the matter is New York City is a little behind the times.  Similar programs have been in existence in several states, counties and cities for years - and over time the concept of simply tracking abusers, to providing warnings to potential victims, has come to fruition as the technology has matured.

Why isn't there more awareness about this capability?  Consider this from a 2009 article on the subject in

"In Isabella County, Michigan, GPS monitoring has been in effect since 2008, with victims and assailants wearing bracelets. With 200 domestic violence cases each year, there have been no violent incidents in the county by the people ordered to wear the bracelet, and only a handful of violations of orders.

GPS "is there and, if we don't avail ourselves of the technology for the benefits that it does bring, shame on us," said Larry Burdick, a prosecutor in the county."

Simple answer: A big chunk of America's leadership and popular press have only passing awareness about the Geospatial Revolution and the potential benefits and pitfalls for our society.  Hopefully, with this recent development in New York City, there will be a few more folks with their awareness turned on.

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