GPS Tracking could Keep Violence Victims Safer

LaViza Hollingsworth, Family Support Services
LaViza Hollingsworth, Family Support Services
James Farren, Randall County District Attorney
James Farren, Randall County District Attorney

GPS technology could soon be used to track criminals convicted of family violence and stalking, keeping victims safer.

Women's shelters and legislators say this is about giving power back to the victims.

But one prosecutor we spoke with said there are other benefits.

Family support services says less than 20 percent of abusive relationships are reported in the Panhandle.

But they believe that number would see an enormous increase if GPS units were placed on offenders.

"If she knows she can have that GPS thing, she can go to her mom and dad, or best friend in California. And she knows she's going to be safer. It might provide her with stronger motivation to get out," said LaViza Hollingsworth, a victim advocate for Family Support Services.

With more than 500 domestic violence cases between Potter and Randall Counties each year, prosecutors say this would help them cut down on cases, and costs.

"If there was a valid, viable way to track that individual and where that person is going to be. Then we're much less likely to oppose the bond, which means less people in the county jail, which means less taxes for the citizens of Randall County," said Randall County District Attorney James Farren.

He says his only concern, is that tracking devices have a history of being disabled by the criminal.

But Hollingsworth says she has faith in the technology.

"Being able to know where he is and having the control in your life to say, you're not supposed to be here. I now know it I'm calling 911," she said.

The legislation says victims would be required to sign-up in order to receive this information.

If passed, this would become law in September.