By using GPS tracking, the man who stole a Christmas tree from a police officer’s daughter’s grave is tracked down.
When Ben Henault, a police officer in Taunton, Massachusetts, discovered a Christmas tree placed on his daughter’s grave was stolen, he was glad that this time, he decided to use a GPS tracking device. This was not the first time a tree has been stolen from her grave. In fact, the repeated theft has gone on for several years. It was hard for Henault not to take it personally.
Henault’s daughter, Rachel Henault, died in 1999 after suffering for a year from brain cancer. She was only seven years old.
Since she was diagnosed the year before right before Christmas, Henault admits that the holiday season is a very hard time in their family. To remember her each year, he places a small decorated Christmas tree at the cemetery where she is buried.
After the first few years of having the tree stolen from her grave, Henault began to get suspicious. “Is this personal? Who is doing this? Is this because I’m a police officer?” he told reporters.
Now that global positioning systems (GPS) are being used to track down various stolen items and capture the criminals behind these thefts, Henault knew it was time for him to use the same technology. He wanted to not only find out who was doing this, but why. He was curious if it was random or committed by the same person, and if there was a reason his family was being targeted every year.
Henault is a sergeant for the Taunton Police Department, and decided to implant a GPS tracking device in the tree this year. He put the Christmas tree in a pot, and left the small tracking device in the soil where the thief would not spot it.
Once again, on New Year’s Eve, the tree was stolen. As soon as it left the programmed location, Henault got an alert that it had moved. The police followed the GPS tracker quickly, and found it at a house not far from the cemetery.
When they tracked down the tree, they found that a man named Gerard Dutra had stolen it. He told reporters that was a misunderstanding and coincidence, and that he did not steal the trees in the years previous.
“This is the first year I’ve done that. Maybe someone else has taken the trees in the past, but it wasn’t me,” Dutra claimed.
He also told the police that he figured since Christmas was over, it was okay to take the tree as they would eventually get thrown away. At his home, he had several other trees, including potted and planted, but claims none of them were stolen. Dutra is now looking at vandalism charges.
Residents of Queensland, Australia can now track an ambulance’s whereabouts in real-time with GPS tracking technology.
In Australia, researchers are beginning to use GPS tracking devices for a number of things, including tracking vehicles. Not just any vehicles, but ambulance fleets. Over 1,000 ambulance trucks are getting GPS tracking with advanced tracking technology that is linked to an online service. Anyone will be able to log-on to the website or the app and see where the ambulance is in real-time.
This will be the first time GPS tracking is used for this purpose in Australia, beginning in Queensland. The software will be known as Real-Time Operational Ambulance Management software, or iROAM. It was originally launched in 2012 for the Queensland Ambulance Service. The system was developed by QAS and provided supervisors to look at operation of their fleets, find out if they can figure out a better dispatching system, and find out what ambulances were available, and what ones were arriving at nearby hospitals.
Now, the general public in Queensland will have this tracking information available. Due to privacy issues and patient confidentiality, the public will not have all the details of the ambulance rides. However, they can see a map of their area, how many ambulances are en route to homes and hospitals, and even see if an ambulance they called for themselves is on the day.
Additionally, the GPS tracking data will reveal a total number of ambulances that are busy or at the hospital, with a link to the Emergency Services Computer Aided Dispatch System provided by QAS. The commissioner of QAS, Russell Bowles, has provided this service as a way to keep their public more informed. He told reporters:
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that when there are ambulances dropping patients at a hospital, there are none available to respond to other emergencies. Use of the QAS social media stream has more than doubled in the past six months. We can use this tool to dispel some of the myths.”
The hope is that the public can view the ambulances and know where they are at and how many more are available throughout Queensland. With the increase in social media interactions through the QAS networks, they believe that the general public in Australia will be interested to use this interactive tracking system.
Once available, people will be given a website where they can view the ambulances throughout Queensland, including information about the fleet, like the number of that ambulance. They can see their movement in real-time on an interactive map. If someone needs to call an ambulance, they can see on the map which one has been dispatched in their area so they have a better idea of when it might arrive.
If you are planning on a move soon, you might be wondering what the safest city in the U.S. is. Not only will you know your family is safer there, but you will prevent break-ins, burglaries, and vehicle theft. Law Street Media has put together a list of the top 10 safest cities, according to the city’s crime rate and various other factors.
- Irvine, California . California occasionally tops the list for having the most dangerous cities in the U.S., but it also has quite a few safe ones. Irvine, California is located in central California and is considered the safest city in the country according to the violent crimes by population. In 2012, there were 110 violent crimes with a population of just over 200,000 people.
- Gilbert, Arizona . Another city on the western part of the country is Gilbert, Arizona. There is only one police officer per 965 people in the city, and for good reason. It is considered a very safe city, with 5 murders and 205 violent crimes in 2012. This is a percentage of 95.68 safety rating.
- Plano, Texas. There are multiple Texas cities that are considered safe in the United States, beginning with Plano, Texas. Plano has a population of approximately 214,000 with a murder rate of 2.33 per 100,000 people. It is also an above-average income city with the median household income being over $83,000.
- Fremont, California. Another safe California city is Fremont, which is close to Silicon Valley. There is a murder rate at 0.09 per 100,000 people, and a little over 100 violent crimes per 100,000 people. It was also one of the safest cities over 200,000 people according to population in 2011.
- Scottsdale, Arizona. Scottsdale, Arizona is not only one of the safest cities in the country, but also one of the safest cities among populations over 200,000 people. Its murder rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people and the city only has one police officer per 557 people.
- Henderson, Nevada. In Henderson, Nevada, there is a low murder rate of 0.15 per 100,000 people. The population is close to others on the list at 623,469. There are 168.90 violent crimes per 100,000 people and one police officer for every 803 people in the city. Unfortunately, it has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at over 17 percent.
- Virginia Beach, Virginia. If you want to live in Virginia Beach, you will not only have beautiful scenery, but a low crime rate as well. With a population of 447,588, this large city only has one police officer per 571 people. The violent crime rate is 169.35 per 100,000 people and 0.47 murders per 100,000 people.
- Irving, Texas. Irving has a population of over 224,000 people with a violent crime rate of 226.33 per 100,000 people. While this is higher than others on the list, there is a murder rate at just 0.13 per 100,000 people. It has a modest unemployment rate and modest household income as well.
- Garland, Texas. Yet another Texas city that is safe is Garland, Texas. This city has 324,984 people and a murder rate of just 0.3 per 100,000 people. The violent crime rate is 229.80 per 100,000 people. It also have several programs to help keep residents safe, including the Neighborhood Crime Watch program.
- Chula Vista, California. Chula Vista is located within San Diego County in California. It is a small, quaint community located near a large metro area. There is a murder rate at 0.32 per 100,000 people and violent crime rate of 232.56 per 100,000 people.
If your hometown didn’t make the list, don’t worry. You can get a GPS tracking device to protect your vehicle from theft.