Tin foil foils offender tags

| 11/10/2013

(CNS): The independent member for North Side revealed that a local offender in his constituency was released on bail with an electronic tag only to commit another burglary days later after wrapping the device in aluminium foil, leaving the monitors unaware that he had left his home and was out stealing from someone else’s.  Ezzard Miller made the revelations during the budget debate in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, when he raised what he said was the critical issue of rising crime and the failures of the RCIPS in his constituency, where the problems of break-ins had reached unprecedented proportions.

He said both his North Side constituency and the neighbouring constituency of East End were under siege by burglars and teenagers tearing up the districts, yet government didn’t mention crime in the throne speech until page seven. Miller said the level of burglaries in his constituency are so high that even the local police station was broken into. He also described how recently one home was burgled for a second time in a matter of days while the owners were still waiting for a visit from the police for the first break-in.

“You would be hard pressed in my community today to find a single resident with any confidence in police,” he said. 

Among a long list of concerns, Miller pointed particularly to the return of repeat offenders on the streets of North Side that have been arrested and charged but are bailed and able to continue their habitual offending. He said repeat offenders were being tagged and returned to the community to wreak havoc, as he pointed to the ease with which they shake off the monitoring and how they even “cover them with plastic bags so they can go take conch out of season,” he added.

“We have peoplein our district with multiple convictions who are being punished in the community on electronic tag,” Miller told his legislative colleagues. “I don’t know where they are buying them from but the criminals have already figured out you can just wrap them up in foil paper and they can go out and commit crimes while the police think they are home.”

Following the concerns raised by the independent member, CNS contact the new home affairs ministry and the Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) said that it was responsible for the Electronic Monitoring Programme, which operates an Electronic Monitoring Centre (EMC) in which staff members perform 24/7 monitoring of electronic monitoring clients using violation tracking software. But the centre said it is the responsibility of the RCIPS to enforce any violations.

Brent Finster, the director of Public Safety Communications, said there has been allegations that certain clients of the tagging programme are covering their devices with foil in an effort to defeat their effectiveness. 

“The DPSC is aware of two incidents in which RCIPS has dealt with Electronic Monitoring (EM) clients who were found with foil on their EM device,” he said. “The EM devices use a cellular network to transmit its location to the Electronic Monitoring Centre software.  The location is determined from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites.  If a device wearer were to place foil over the device, the GPS signal is indeed blocked, however, terrestrial cellular radio waves are much stronger than GPS and in most cases cannot be defeated.”

He explained that the EM device can distinguish movement and if the device is moving but cannot receive a GPS signal because it is covered by foil for example the device will send an alert. 

“Electronic Monitoring Centre staff receive the alert, assess it, and either call the client by phone to have them step outside to get a better view of the satellites or they will cause the RCIPS to be dispatched to the client’s location,” Finster explained “Although DPSC management believes that the current EMD devices work well, a Request For Proposals is being drafted to solicit bids from security providers that can provide advanced technology to include detection of a device wrapped in foil,” he said, adding that in the end the tagging system still required a certain level of cooperation from the offenders.

Finster also stated that anyone who knows of people who are wearing tags that have deliberately attempted to defeat the devices, for the sake of the safety and security they should be reported to RCIPS.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I happen to know of someone who was ON one of these monitors, it fell got caught on something and ripped off. The person phoned the number on the monitor to let them know it was off, and got no reply. He ended up calling the police to let them know what happened and was consequently locked up for the weekend until the dept that handles these things reopened. Justice much?

  2. Weapons Grade Bollocks says:

    The problem in this case begins when the enforcement agency views convicted criminals as “clients” and the provision of the devices as a customer service. The notion that you are going to trust a convicted criminal for the purposes of of verifying gps connectivity is laughable and plain stupid.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  3. Anonymously says:

    What a mess going…going…gone 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Whoever government bought those monitors from they aught to send them back to and ask for arefund.  They are not meeting their hype.  And I'll bet it was a pretty penny they paid for them too.  Anyone know where they got them and how much they paid for them?  What was the specs government required the gadgets to meet?

    • Caymanian Culture says:

      Did they buy them from the same chap who $old the CCTV Camera$?

  5. Anonymous says:

    You know, sometimes Ezzard has a point, but other times, he leaves me wondering.  Some while back, he was beating up his gums about a young man who had been caught with ganja and had refused rehabilitation and as a result, he could not continue in school in the USA.  Now he is advocating that all these pesty burglars should not be given bail, contrary to the Human Rights part of the Constitution.  Ezzard has me befuddled! 

    Ezzard, if you really want to quell the crime in North Side, then get out in the community, going door to door and encourage the good citizens of North Side to call in their known criminals activity to the police.  Believe me, their families know what they are up to.  They see them with the stolen property.  You simply can't expect the police to play freeze tag with every one of them, can you?  Now stop playing politics and start doing something positive instead of always finding fault, for which you get an "A+."

    • Anonymous says:

      Ummmm…I don't understand what comparison you are seeking to make between a person smoking marijuana versus a person burglarising other people's homes. I don't know of any country which has decriminalised burglary, but I know of many countries which have decriminalised the use of marijuana.

  6. Jacky Boatside from Oldbush says:

    We need wrap some of this foil around the RCIPS Leadership to stop them from thinking up any more ideas on crime because mann we getting kill out ya i tell you! Crime down! yes it right on top of us, Reflect the diversity of our Community BULl$#@!

  7. Anonymous says:

    The problem with reports like this is an inability to get everyone in one room and get a 'who's to blame' answer on specific examples. Are the monitors 'spoofed' by foil, or is it the police not responding fast enough to reports of 'non-signal' from the monitors so the absconder is back home by the time the police arrive? Two different problems and new tech won't solve the second if that turns out to be the problem. As it well might given the slow investigation example sited in the article.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Are the monitors 'spoofed' by foil, or is it the police not responding fast enough to reports of 'non-signal' from the monitors so the absconder is back home by the time the police arrive? …"

      If the monitors are spoofed by foil,  then I would be surprised if these offenders are just sitting at home on the couch watching tv after wrapping the monitoring device with foil.  Wouldn't they wrap the unit with foil prior to leaving their assigned location?

      Then, if the unit is not transmitting a location, where would you send the police in order to find the offender?  They can check where the offender is supposed to be.  But if he is not there, then where?

      I doubt the offenders are racing the police back home.  More likely they are out doing things they should not be doing.

      • Anonymous says:

        Let me xplain my comment. The original claim in the article that the 'tin foil foils offender tags' implies that the foil wraper is somehow able to allow the suspect to commit crimes without being detected as away from home. This would be 'spoofing' the tag. Making it look to the monitors that its in one place when you're somewhere else. (Or somehow a 'non-signal' doesn't get reported as a 'call police' problem.) This would clearly be a problem with the tag (or associated monitoring system).

        However, if wrapping the tag in tin foil immediately sets off a 'no signal, call police' alarm in the monitoring centre but there is no appropriate response, i.e., police sent to the last known location of the tag to begin a search for the person if they aren't there, then that is a problem on the response end. The tags are working fine. – This is similar to the 'they wraped it in plastic and went conch poaching' complaint. Thats not a falut of the tag. Thats a fault of the response to 'oh, look, the GPS says the suspect is out by the reef; they're a known poacher, better send police to the shoreline to check they're not poaching'.

        See, two possible failure routes, two different responses needed. Buying new equipment (the implied solution in the article) does nothing to resolve the second. Though it will make some bussiness/consultant some money.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Finster. You Mad? You want us to tell the Police who demand our names and addresses and then tell the criminals where they got their info from? Been there, done that, and got the scars to prove it. You better come up with some some system that works. Hey, I know, how about putting criminals in Prison?

  9. Anonymous says:

    "Finster also stated that anyone who knows of people who are wearing tags that have deliberately attempted to defeat the devices for the sake of the safety and security they should be reported to RCIPS" This statement contradicts everything that was said previously. The monitoring unit that monitors these so called clients knows when there is a lost in GPS signal, which should tell them that something is wrong!!! Failure to act accordingly seems to be once again the main problem here. XXXX

  10. Anonymous says:

    Bainsey , you have got to be smarter than the criminals !!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    These "electronic devices" sounds very inadequate for the huge $$$$ that were paid for them. Somebody has got "RICH" and will be getting "RICHER AGAIN" for an upgrade, compliments of the Cayman Islands tax payers. Sounds much like the CCTV cameras that are not picking up useful images and not preventing or detecting crimes.  

  12. Reform Party says:

    $60,000,000 plus on RCIPS and the substations at Gun Bay and the Hut are unmanned. What do they do with all that money?

    Might as well use it to set up a pension fund for the criminals because giving it to RCIP is no better than throwing it away…..

  13. Anonymous says:

    Instead of putting tags on their legs, they should take their leg and keep it at the police station. The offender can make the decision as to whether they wish to accompany their leg or not.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Simple answer if the device isn't responding and they don't answer the phone go lock them up..

  15. Anonymous says:

    And, Mr Miller, I presume these repeat offending criminals in your district you are talking about so eloquently are Jamaican, Filipino, British, American, Canadian, Indian?? The "furriners" you dislike so much?

    • Anonymous says:

      They were corrupted by furriners.  They were forced in crime by furriner employer conspiracies.  A furriner once farted in an elevator next to the thief and poisoned the pure Caymanian brain with furriner-itis. . .