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Phoenix mulling GPS tracking for certain criminals

PHOENIX — Some criminals in Phoenix may soon be given ankle bracelets equipped with Global Positioning System software that would allow authorities to keep a closer eye on them.

The Phoenix City Prosecutor’s Office has been researching how courts across the country use monitoring devices on domestic violence abusers.

Currently, Maricopa County Superior Court installs ankle bracelets to track high-risk offenders and Phoenix Municipal Court is exploring options.

According to a city council report, 60 percent of domestic violence abusers violate orders to stay away from victims within 12 months. GPS is used to track offenders’ movements and to alert victim if they are getting close. When a court requires an offender to wear a GPS ankle bracelet, the vendor monitors the offender’s location and notifies the victim and law enforcement, if needed.

The city report said location points are gathered every minute and relayed to a monitoring center every tenth minute. Restriction zones, like schools, workplaces and homes, can be programmed into the system. In Connecticut, a victim can also carry a GPS device and be notified if an offender is nearby.

Members of the Phoenix Public Safety Subcommittee will discuss the GPS report and options when they meet on Wednesday morning at City Hall.