Redlands Chamber of Commerce & Redlands Hotel Council fund technology that will help Redlands’ businesses protect their assets
By Lt. Travis Martinez, Redlands PD
Over the last five years, the Redlands Police Department (RPD) has been proactive in helping businesses protect their assets from both internal and external theft by using electronic stakeouts . Deploying specialized GPS technology that activates based on motion and immediately alerts officers on their smartphones enabling real-time tracking, RPD has been partnering with any willing business that has been experiencing crime. Whether it be armed robbery, commercial burglary, organized retail theft, or simply protecting customers’ vehicles in the parking lot from vehicle burglary, RPD and Redlands’ businesses have discovered a strategy that turns the tables on would-be thieves. With 265 arrests to date credited to the technology, the proactive strategy of setting traps that would aid in the apprehension of burglars and robbers has expanded to police departments and communities nationwide. And now, the Redlands Chamber of Commerce and the Redlands Hotel Council have become two of the first business organizations to fund multiple devices for their local police department to use in protecting local business interests.
The year 2016 led to 66 arrests at RPD using electronic stakeouts including the following:
- A local pharmacy was being repeatedly targeted by thieves who would break the windows of the business during nighttime commercial burglaries. The thieves would immediately collect all of the bottles of promethazine syrup and OxyContin. Community policing officers from RPD teamed up with the pharmacist, embedded a GPS tracking device in a promethazine bottle, and placed it on the shelf in the pharmacy. When four gangsters from Los Angeles hit the pharmacy in July, they only made it a mile away before they were arrested by authorities.
- Nighttime burglars were targeting high-priced automotive technology scanners at a franchise auto parts store. RPD worked with the store manager and placed one of the GPS trackers in a scanner package that was then displayed behind the cash register counter. When RPD responded to an alarm at the business caused by a broken window, officers discovered the suspects had already fled the scene, taking with them the GPS laced scanner package. Within minutes, RPD officers had the suspects stopped.
- A convenience store prone to robberies allowed RPD to install a GPS chip in a packet of money that was then placed in the business’ cash register. When the clerk of the business was robbed at knifepoint, she simply put all of the cash from the register into a bag and handed it over to the robber. The GPS device activated and helped authorities track the suspect as he fled the business on foot. Using the tracking data, police were able to identify and apprehend the suspect. Just recently, he pled guilty to armed robbery and received a four year state prison sentence.
Seeing the value in how electronic stakeouts can help protect businesses and ease the concern of business owners, the Redlands Chamber of Commerce and Redlands Hotel Council raised $5,600 to be used to fund six GPS devices and two years’ worth of cell phone service for the devices. At a cost of only $1.82 per day per device the first year and only $.59 a day every following year, the strategy has proven to be a very effective yet very affordable way for businesses to help their local police departments combat crime and protect their assets.
To learn more about how GPS technology can be used to fight crime, please contact Lt. Travis Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lt. Travis Martinez currently heads the Investigations and Special Operations Bureau of the Redlands Police Department.