MINEOLA, N.Y. — For months, police trying to solve a Long Island robbery spree had little more to go on than grainy surveillance footage of a man in a hoodie and black ski mask holding up one gas station or convenience store after another.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.toledoblade.com
There are questions being asked about the use of GPS placed inside items that are commonly stolen, in order to catch the thieves. This article asks some questions about the legality of continuing to track those items or thieves for weeks or months, rather than simply arresting them in situ.
Putting GPS tracking in a bottle of pills in a drug store that is frequently raided is a great idea. If the suspect is then tracked, at minimum risk to the public and someone is apprehended, charged and loses the freedom to continue to commit crimes, that’s a good thing right?
However if Police want to track someone for a prolonged period of time on the basis of crimes they have yet to commit, that would normally require some sort of warrant. At what point then have we moved from one type of monitoring to another legitimately?
The example is having found a skimmer in an ATM machine, Police put a GPS tracker on it. I didn’t know that was possible. Apparently there was one in an ATM at my local Albany Mall in Auckland recently and I heard a number of local people are finding their accounts wiped out in my neighborhood.
So instead of catching the perpetrator when they go to retrieve the skimmer (assuming they do) and going through due process, what if Police continued to monitor the person (or in fact the now GPS tracked ATM skimmer) for months, recording all sorts of illegal activity committed by these people and aiming to apprehend a gang instead of just one person.
I suspect, much as I have disdain for these criminals, that this is crossing a line. The line appears not to have been challenged with any vengeance in court given that in most cases when the thief is apprehended red handed and see that they have been GPS tracked, they plead guilty.
The article also talks about risks that the longer a tracker is in place, the greater the risk of an innocent person ending up being in possession of or in sufficient proximity to the tracker and stolen goods weeks or months after the offense, to become suspects themselves.
I understand the attraction to keep GPS tracking and it probably has the highest level of results in apprehension and conviction of offenders as a tool that Police have enjoyed in the last few decades, but we do live in a world of innocent until proven guilty.
Where do I sit? If I had GPS in one of my valued items and it gets stolen, I want it back and I want the thief charged and convicted. I’d be happy that if they were off the street for an appropriate period of time, they can’t commit more crimes while they are away. End of story.