These days, GPS tracking devices can be used to locate just about anything in your life — from your car to your smartphone to your car keys and beyond. Many parents are even using them to keep a better eye on their kids. But what if local governments and law enforcement agencies could use these devices to constantly keep tabs on career criminals, making sure that people who insist that they’ve given up a life of crime actually stay true to their word?
This is the question the Williams Lake City Council in Victoria, Canada, is eager to answer after submitting a recent request to the provincial government to do precisely that. In an effort to better protect their community from a crime wave that shows no end in sight, the fed-up residents and representatives from Williams Lake insist that technology may very well be the answer they’ve been waiting for.
Williams Lake and GPS Trackers: What You Need to Know
Earlier in 2018, the Williams Lake City Council made international headlines when it petitioned officials from the local province to help law enforcement officers crack down on career criminals by using various types of GPS trackers. It’s important to note, however, that this is actually NOT the first time that such a request has been made. The City Council members suggested something similar in 2016 — that repeat career criminals be injected with GPS tracking devices that they could not easily remove — but they were shot down by the Victorian government.
More recently, the City Council has taken a more straightforward approach, writing an open letter to Attorney General David Eby and all provincial court judges to garner increased support for a new version of the electronic monitoring program. This request actually comes after another recent high-profile incident when, during the final few months of 2017, thieves were caught looting empty homes during a wildfire evacuation of the nearby city.
Though the looters themselves were quickly arrested, they were soon released on bail — much to the frustration of residents of the local communities. This has caused many people to circle back around to the GPS tracker issue, something that people now see as a better idea than when it was originally proposed just a few years ago.
Williams Lake has actually been on the forefront of the GPS tracking movement for quite some time. Even going beyond the 2016 proposal, the local police force carefully considered the increased use of GPS trackers in 2014. A special report was even commissioned to look into the feasibility of such a program in the province in greater detail. The Correctional Service of Canada, to its credit, has also considered rolling out a GPS tracking bracelet program in the past.
Councilman Scott Nelson of Williams Lake has gone on record saying that the community has already done all that it can to help reduce crime. They’ve poured as much money as possible into the local police budget and have supported a wide range of additional programs aimed directly at repeat offenders. The crime problem in the area still persists, and Nelson, along with a sizable amount of his constituents, says that GPS trackers are the next logical step in terms of correcting this issue once and for all.
Nelson has said that, should the request be approved, the city can move forward with bringing in an acceptable number of tracking devices within the next two months. As of early April, the City Council is still waiting for a response from the Victorian government.
One thing is for sure — local governments and law enforcement agencies around North America are watching Williams Lake with definite urgency. Should this request be approved and should the GPS tracking program be successful, it would not only be one of the first of its kind — it would also be a clear example of how this application of GPS technology doesn’t just work, but works incredibly well. Though we’re certainly a long way off from that point, it’s exciting to see what the future might hold.