In 1998, Darrin Sanford was convicted of luring minors with sexual motivation. He was released on probation and fitted with ankle GPS, but police say that technological precaution couldn't stop him from murdering a girl.
According to a confession he gave police, Sanford captured a 7th grade girl on her way home from a supermarket and brought her to an abandoned home. After failing to rape her, he beat the girl to death.
Sanford was a registered Level 3 sex offender, the category deemed most likely to reoffend. So he was fitted with GPS, but why didn't the GPS precaution prevent this tragedy?
A few reasons. First, it was a passive GPS, in which parole officers merely check coordinates after the fact. That GPS data successfully led to Sanford's eventual police confession, but it didn't prevent anything. And even active GPS, one read in realtime, would require someone actually checking the data and reasoning what a registered sex offender hanging around in an abandoned building might imply.
A million things could probably have occurred differently to prevent this tragedy, but I can't help but worry that technological catch phrases like "GPS" lull us into a false sense of security, while computers gather meaningless data of infinitely meaningful events. [CNN]