Electronic anklet gets smarter
By Kim Rahn
Location traceable electronic anklets, which convicted sex offenders are ordered to wear, will be made with stronger material to prevent them being destroyed enabling additional crimes to occur.
The new anklet will also have Wi-Fi-based system, which will allow law enforcement authorities to trace the offenders’ location more accurately, according to the Ministry of Justice, Friday.
The upgrade is going ahead because there have been cases in which former sex crime convicts broke devices and re-offended. Public concern has grown over the number of former convicts repeating crimes after a 10-year-old girl in Tongyeong was murdered last month by a former sex offender following an attempted sexual assault.
“By the end of the year, we’ll develop an electronic anklet made of reinforced stainless steel, which will be much stronger than the current one,” a ministry official said.
Another upgrade will be made for the location tracing system. “When the anklet wearers enter basement floors of buildings where the current global positioning system (GPS) signals are not transmitted well, we have difficulty finding their precise location. We’ll add a Wi-Fi system for more accuracy,” he said.
According to the ministry, the anklet system, which was adopted in September 2008, has lowered the recidivism rate significantly: Between 2006 and 2008, 14.8 percent of former sex offenders committed similar crimes, but the rate dropped to 1.67 percent last December.
To lower the rate, the ministry will strengthen monitoring on the anklet holders starting next month.
When convicted offenders don’t abide by rules, such as nighttime curfews, probation officers and police officers will jointly check them. Currently, only probation officers are sent to monitor such activities, while police officers are accompanied only when the anklet is destroyed.
“Both probation and police officers will be dispatched if a former offender is reported to have violated his rules, such as a curfew or a restraining order,” the official said.
The ministry will seek to revise related laws to share information about offenders wearing anklets with police. Probation officers will visit former sex offenders at least four times a month, while they will check on other types of criminals one or two times per month.
In the meantime, a 36-year-old man was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Friday for attempting to rape a woman while wearing a location anklet because he was previously convicted of sexual assault charges.
The man, Kim, lied to a female member of an online community that he is a producer at a broadcasting company. They met, and Kim attempted to rape her. As she resisted, he assaulted her.
Kim was previously convicted of a similar charge in 2010 and has since been wearing the anklet.