Charlotte, NC – Hundreds of accused crooks are walking the streets of Charlotte with bulky electronic monitors attached to their legs. 28 year old Mohammed Kaba is one of them. He's out of jail on a 60 thousand dollar bond and awaiting trial for Armed Robbery. Kaba says, if enjoying his freedom requires him to be electronically monitored then so be it. He also says, knowing that the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is tracking his every move, keeps him out of trouble.
Sgt. Dave Scheppegrell heads up the CMPD's unit that tracks suspects being electronically monitored, like Mohammed. He says, "Electronic monitoring is a great tool for law enforcement. These people would be out on the street, free in the community, with no additional supervision, it's a great tool.
But it's not a perfect tool in keeping people accused of crimes, away from crime. Scheppegrell says, "88 percent of the people we put on monitoring are successful. Those people don't cut their monitors off, they follow the rules and they don't commit other crimes."
But that still leaves 12 percent who are making the streets less safe. However, it's usually suspects who cut their monitors and run who make the headlines. That group only accounts for about two percent of the people on house arrest, though. n many cases the story is reported immediately and the fugitives are caught within 48 hours.
But Sgt. Scheppegrell is quick to point out, about 70 percent of the people walking the streets with ankle monitors are young men under the age of 21. He says, “The judge feels that jail is not the right place for this person, yet they want them to have additional supervision that the parents may or may not be giving them." He says, that's one example of why electronic monitoring works. "Sometimes the judges order they go to school and we're able to monitor that they're going to school every day and we're able to track to make sure they're not committing other crimes."
As for suspects like 28 year old Mohammed Kaba, he says the program works for him. Since his curfew is from 6am to 6pm, he now spends that time looking for a job and hoping he'll soon be relieved of his ankle jewelry so he can turn a job, into an honest career.