Local police put a stop to high-speed car chases with GPS tracking bullets.
Police departments across the country are no stranger to using GPS tracking to catch criminals, but its use has recently expanded and increased in Florida and Iowa.
Law enforcement in Florida and Iowa are using a GPS tracking system that shoot a dart-like tracker with compressed air at the vehicle being chased (similar to those T-shirt guns you see at a baseball game) and attach to the vehicle. This lets police track where the vehicle goes — without putting pedestrians and other drivers in danger.
High-speed car chases are extremely dangerous. They put police, drivers and pedestrians at risk for injury and even death. High speed chases often weave in and out of traffic, causing multiple car pile-ups and placing people walking on the streets in danger.
But with the new GPS tracking devices fired at suspect’s vehicles, police can remain a safe distance behind — and still have a way of tracking the location and speed of the vehicle.
The new crime-fighting system being used in Florida and Iowa enables police to shoot the GPS tracker from an air cannon that is attached to the front of a police car. There are tracking units inside this cannon that are covered by a soft substance to allow them to stick to the vehicle they are shot at. This tags the vehicle in front of them, letting police remain a distance behind while tracking the vehicle.
Many times, the driver of the vehicle being chased has no idea they have just been tagged by the GPS tracker and will think they lost the police. They eventually slow down and give police an advantage over them.Police departments use the GPS tracking bullets not only to increase the likelihood of catching the person that is fleeing in a vehicle, but also to stop potentially deadly vehicle accidents. These accidents often happen in the middle of high-speed pursuits, and the police departments in Florida and Iowa want to put a stop to them.
Up to 40 percent of police chases result in car crashes, according to Geoffrey Alpert, a criminology professor at the University of South Carolina, and 360 deaths occur annually as a result of law enforcement chases, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. With more than 100,000 high-speed pursuits happening across the United States every year, it isn’t surprising that police departments want to save the general public from the often devastating results.
Once the GPS tracker is attached to the vehicle trying to escape, police are able to monitor the vehicle’s speed and location from a remote location. Through a computer, law enforcement has a map in real-time of the vehicle. They can see where it goes, its speed, if it slows down and any stops it makes. If the vehicle gets on a freeway, police have a good indication of where it is headed. Any time the vehicle stops for an extended period of time, police know to act quickly, because it may mean the person has exited the vehicle and is running on foot.
According to ABC News, this GPS tracking technology costs each police car about $5,000 plus an additional $250 for using the GPS tracking bullet (which only works for one launch). With a multitude of concerns regarding public safety in the middle of high-speed car chases, what is gained by using these GPS tracking bullets is much more.