UTICA, N.Y. (CBS Pittsburgh) – About one-sixth of 90,000 registered sex offenders monitored by GPS tracking are circumventing the system using a various methods to avoid law enforcement officers.
A new study indicates that 16.6 percent of registered sex offenders frequently move residences, vary spellings of their names, and use different aliases and social security numbers to avoid police enforcement and tracking.
The study, which was conducted by Utica College in association with the college’s Center for Identity Management and Information Protection and criminologists and ID analysts at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, found that using any combination of tactics makes tracking registered sex offenders that much more difficult for police to keep track of them.
“I’m not saying the sex offender tracking system doesn’t work, but this study is just to point out that perhaps more needs to be done if we want to make it a system that works 100 percent,” Donald Rebovich, executive director of Utica’s Center for Identity Management and Information Protection, said in a release. “It sort of eats at the confidence that the public has in the whole sex offender tracking system, and I hope the results of this study help solve that problem.”
According to the release, the U.S. Dept. of Justice provided a $67,000 grant to fund the study.
Yet, there are some questions as to whether the GPS system can be avoided as easily as the study says it can. Bob Allen, a Pittsburgh-based reporter, wore a bracelet for registered sex offenders around a high school parking lot in Pittsburgh. He found that it was doing its job.
“Within 30 seconds after driving on school property, the pager went off warning him he was in an exclusion zone,” researchers said in a release. “The GPS system worked.”