How effective are ankle-monitoring devices?

Suspected criminals are cutting off their tracking devices while waiting for trial.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In two days, three men awaiting trial cut their ankle bracelets off and went on the run.  

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say Justin Schiene, Javaughn Anderson and Demonte Hatcher each removed their electronic monitoring devices.  

Officers located Schiene within a day, adding tampering with an electronic device to his existing charges for stealing cars. 

Removing the device is not impossible for anyone who is determined, however, police are notified the moment the ankle strap is cut. CMPD usually finds offenders within 48 hours, but the high probability of being caught is not enough to stop some from taking that chance.

"There's no deterrent," said Marcus Philemon, with citizen watch group, Courtwatch. "If I'm out on an electronic monitoring, I got felony charges and I know how the system works, if I cut my monitor off, it's a misdemeanor and I will probably have that charge dismissed by the DA."

Philemon says too often electronic monitoring is given to defendants awaiting trial instead of bond. He thinks they should have both. 

"A lot of times it is the worst of the worst. It is someone who is a repeat offender, been convicted or arrested on multiple felonies in the past."

CMPD credits the program with solving dozens of cases. It is how they were able to place Marsean Allison to the scene of a homicide on Pinnacle Drive in May.  He is now charged with murder and attempted murder in that case.  

Police say only a small percentage of those wearing ankle monitors remove them, around 1%. However, if the monitor isn't worn, police have no way of knowing what a person is up to. Philemon says those who cut their monitors face little consequences.

"Until there's a real deterrent that says, 'you cut this off, it's going to be a felony on your record,' until our legislators take it seriously and until the judges in the courthouses take it seriously, we're going to continue to have this problem," he declared.

Police are still searching for Javaughn Anderson and Demonte Hatcher.  Anyone with information about their whereabouts is encouraged to contact CMPD.  

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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