New York City police and prosecutors have a new way of preventing domestic violence: Offenders must wear an ankle bracelet that sets off an alarm if they get too close to their victims, reports Newsday. The device uses cell phone triangulation and global positioning to alert authorities and domestic violence victims if the wearer enters an “exclusion zone,” usually an area about 500 to 1,000 feet around a victim’s home, school, or job. The zone is spelled out in orders of protection issued when the offender agrees to wear the bracelet as part of their sentencing. Victims are alerted via text messages or a cell phone call. An alert is also sent to a Colorado-based monitoring company, which calls 911 in New York. Police are then sent to arrest the offender.
The initiative provides a “modern-day solution to an age-old problem and will assist victims to regain control of their lives,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “No longer will an order of protection be simply an unenforceable piece of paper.” The program provides domestic violence victims more security and freedom, said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who grew up in fear of his alcoholic father. The device “sort of tips that balance of power in favor of the victim and authorities,” said Wanda Lucibello, chief of Hynes’ Special Victims Division. “Anytime there is that shift, especially when there’s a stalker involved, it’s useful because it shows [the offender] that someone else is in control.”