GPS alarms available for Windsor domestic violence victims

Personal GPS alarms are now available to high-risk victims of domestic violence in Windsor.

Windsor police spent nearly $8,000 on devices that include two-way radio, GPS tracking

Windsor police have charged a 20-year-old Windsor man with attempted murder. (CBC News)

Personal GPS alarms are now available to high-risk victims of domestic violence in Windsor.

The monitoring devices, which looks similar to pagers, were purchased by the Windsor Police Service at a cost of $7,267.

The alarms will be made available to those victims who are considered to be in situations where there is a potential for serious bodily harm or death.

The alarms are the size of a small pager and police say they can easily hidden by the victim. 

The devices are integrated with Google maps software, have two-way voice capability and will provide a GPS tracking of the victim when activated.

"This allows her to move within the community, go to work, go to school and feel safe outside her home," Windsor police Det. Maureen Rudall said. "The problem with cellphones is that the first thing the abuse does is try to locate her cellphone."

Rudall said abusers will search call logs and text message histories on cellphones.

"The cellphone is the first thing he goes for," Rudall said.

Rudall also said restraining orders don't always work.

"Restraining orders sometimes aren’t worth the paper they’re written on," she said.

Police say the new system will allow responding officers to determine a victim’s exact location.

"This tool provides an alternative that allows victims to leave their residences so they no longer feel like prisoners in their own homes," Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick said.

The money used to buy the GPS came from a grant from the Ministry of the Attorney General, which used money obtained from property forfeited under the Civil Remedies Act.

Rudall said police won't reveal exactly how the new devices look or how many of them are in service.

"We don’t want the abusers to know what to look for," she said. "We want the abusers to think every single domestic violence victim has one."

Police chose Friday to launch the new initiative because it coincides with the 24th anniversary of the massacre at École Polytechnique in Montreal, where 14 innocent women were gunned down.

In 1991, December 6 was commemorated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.


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