Are Ankle Monitoring Bracelets Working?

Wednesday, February 18th 2009, 10:07 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News on 6

TULSA, OK -- Ankle monitoring bracelets are keeping track of people on probation or waiting on their trial or sentencing.

They are designed to protect the public from people who are eligible to get out of jail but need watching.

Police say they are arresting more people wearing these bracelets, calling into question whether they are working.

Tulsa police say Keith Overstreet is a busy guy.

"Without a doubt, he is the most active car burglar we have in Tulsa," Sgt. Brandon Watkins said. "He was a suspect in 600 car burglaries."

They say Tulsa's Hunter Park had a crime wave this year and every time Overstreet was in jail, the crime wave ended.

When he got out, they say cars were broken into, purses stolen and credit cards used illegally.

Police are already frustrated when they arrest the same criminals over and over, but their frustration increased because Overstreet was on federal probation and wearing an ankle monitor each time they got him.

Overstreet has been arrested six times in Tulsa County and once in Osage County since July 1, and he's had a bracelet on every time, Watkins said.

He's not the only one. Burglary detectives recently arrested three juveniles who were also wearing monitoring bracelets.

"These guys are professional criminals at 16, 17, 18 years old," Watkins said. "One of them, (we) found his ankle monitor cut off from his leg while he was hiding under a house. First thing he did was cut the monitor off and toss it aside."

Police say it's happening more and more and they wish tougher criteria was used to give monitors and something more was being done to keep criminals from committing new crimes, even property crimes that are considered non-violent.

"But property crimes like burglaries are victimizing because they don't feel safe in their own home," Watkins said. "People don't take that seriously, and these guys get out and victimize over and over."

Overstreet's most recent car break-in arrest was Feb. 10, and his victim was Mark McCrory, Tulsa's deputy chief of police.

The federal probation office filed paperwork in December to revoke Overstreet's probation. He is in Tulsa's jail with a hold for a federal warrant.

Watch The News On 6 at 10 p.m. Thursday to see how Tulsa County's monitoring program works.