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I have said it over and over, and so has many other people, that GPS is a waste of tax payer money, and does nothing to deter or prevent crimes. If a person is intent on committing a crime, or pushed to the fringes of society, then they will commit a crime, just like this man did. And now, another child is dead, and did GPS or anything about the sex offender laws prevent this? Nope!
By Keith Eldridge & KOMO Staff
SEATTLE -- The alleged murder of a girl by a transient sex offender wearing a GPS device is raising questions about the effectiveness of the tracking strategy.
GPS is a tracking tool, not something that can stop criminals in the act, law enforcement officials said.
Darrin Sanford was one of the most closely-watched sex offenders. He had to check in with his community corrections officer every day and wear a GPS tracking device that mapped his every move.
Still, officials said, that didn't prevent him from allegedly attempting to rape then killing Alycia Nipp in Vancouver, Wash. Saturday night.
"I want him sentenced to death, honestly," said Nipp's aunt.
So, if Sanford was under Department of Corrections' supervision, why couldn't he be stopped?
The department said people have the misconception that GPS tracking is just like air traffic controllers -- crews monitoring screens and keeping people safe. Not so, says Armando Mendoza, regional administrator of the Department of Corrections.
"I do think that most people, the general public thinks were are watching them 24/7 in real-time. We just don't have the manpower to do anything like that," he said.
And having someone watching the tracker around the clock wouldn't prevent crimes either, investigators said.
A GPS tracking map shows green dots and arrows that indicate where the sex offender is and where he has been. The offender himself is not seen and therefore, authorities have no way of knowing whether he is committing a crime at any given moment.
Investigators said that's why Sanford could not be stopped.
"Even if we had been having someone watching his track real-time, they would not have known that he was engaged in any kind of criminal behavior," said Don Pierce of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.
The GPS device didn't prevent the crime, but police said it did help solve it. Sanford was initially let go after questioning.
"They asked me a few questions because of my past criminal history," he said in a previous interview.
But when corrections officers pulled up the tracking map, they saw that it put Sanford at the scene of the crime. Investigators confronted him with that information, and that's when he allegedly confessed.
Statewide, 120 sex offenders wear the GPS device. Most are homeless and the others are high-level offenders just released from prison.