Viewpoint: Ankle monitors are great for law enforcement

Burglaries by juveniles are a major crime issue in Albany. Gangs and older criminals are using juveniles for crimes, because their punishment is not as severe, and they are back out on the streets quickly, committing the same crimes again.

Businesses have hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and are spending thousands of dollars, in additional security measures, to protect their property.

In a new approach, Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards wants to use electronic ankle monitors to try to stop the young thieves. This is one of the best ideas we have heard in a long time.

The D. A. says the Youth Detention Centers can't hold most juvenile offenders for more than 30 days because of state cutbacks. The whole idea is to break up this cycle of burglaries involving juveniles Edwards is working with Juvenile Judges to use this new technology to track them if they don't go to school and stay home at night as ordered by the judges.

"Number one we can keep track of where they are. We can alarm an audible siren on the monitor if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time,"  said District Attorney Greg Edwards.

This is cheaper than the $40 per day to put a juvenile offender behind bars. But it still costs about $11 a day for the ankle monitors.

Crime not only costs the victims, but it hurts the economic development of Albany. We hope the community will be willing to contribute to the monitoring program to help break the gang cycle that is plaguing Albany.

A concern is how long a Judge can order a juvenile to wear an electronic monitor. For a designated felon it could be up to five years.

We certainly hope this electronic monitoring program up and running soon... But community support is important, so if you want to help, please let us know.