HomePublications › Using GPS Technology to Investigate Crime Trends


Using GPS Technology to Investigate Crime Trends

Publication Date

November 2017


Travis Martinez


As police departments across the nation are focused on searching for methods to strengthen and promote public trust, law enforcement leaders recognize that they must also continue to effectively respond to and investigate crime. Most communities appreciate the effort law enforcement agencies have put forward as they strive to enhance police legitimacy, but many citizens and business owners are understandably concerned as some agencies struggle to find the resources to investigate property crime. In 2011, the Redlands Police Department (RPD) faced a similar predicament. The fiscal climate at the time mandated a 26.5% reduction in the number of sworn officers, forcing the department to decrease their ranks from 98 officers down to 72. With a strong history of allocating the resources needed to investigate every type of crime, RPD was growing increasingly frustrated as property crime was starting to climb at an alarming rate. In response to a high number of vehicle burglaries at a local fitness center parking lot, a patrol lieutenant was convinced that technology was the key to balancing exceptional police work with the current budget crisis. He believed the GPS technology that banks were using to protect their assets could also be utilized by law enforcement agencies to essentially create an electronic stakeout, where one simple device took the place of a surveillance team. The success of utilizing GPS technology to investigate the vehicle burglary crime trend at the fitness center created a new strategy, giving detectives tools to conduct electronic stakeouts.

Recommended Citation

Martinez, C. (2017). Using GPS technology to investigate crime trends. National Policing Institute. Retrieved https://www.policinginstitute.org/publication/using-gps-technology-to-investigate-crime-trends/