GPS Advances in the Tracking of Missing Children

GPS Advances in the Tracking of Missing Children

As of the year 2000, almost 90% of the missing persons reported in the United States were children. That translates into over two thousand kidnappings reported in our country every single day. The sad fact is that juveniles are detained illegally or against their will by relatives or acquaintances in 76% of these cases. There is not enough legislation in place to combat these alarming statistics, and the sluggish response of many law enforcement agencies to kidnapping reports does nothing to help calm a parent in panic mode. For this reason, parents are utilizing new technology to take action when it comes to keeping track of their children. Personal tracking devices use state of the art GPS technology to locate a target in real time. This type of device puts parents at ease and eliminates that moment of panic when a child is late returning from school, gets caught up in a crowd at the local store or market, or decides to stay with a friend unexpectedly. In addition to easing the daily stress of keeping tabs on a child, a personal tracking device can be a lifesaver if your child ever goes missing.

You can adjust the tracking and notification settings of a personal GPS device depending on how much daily supervision your child needs. Some parents feel that constant monitoring is an unnecessary invasion of privacy and choose only to activate the tracking service in the case of an emergency. Other parents, with children who aren’t as reliable about being where they say they are, especially throughout the teenage years, can set up geographical boundaries and be alerted immediately if their child is somewhere they shouldn’t be. These alerts can come in the form of a phone call, email, or text message.

Certain models of the child tracking devices are sophisticated enough to monitor body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, which can provide additional diagnostics for assessing missing child cases.

Child tracking devices use Global Positioning System technology to triangulate the location of the target within the area of a city block. This tracking is done by bouncing a communications signal back and forth to a number of satellites that orbit the Earth. The tracking device itself is equipped with both a transmitter and receiver, which allows it to communicate with the government-issued satellites in real time. This type of device affords parents the option of taking immediate action should their child go missing or be taken against their will. Simply locating the child allows police to work out a proper rescue plan.

In 2006, the PatienTrak system struck a deal with the National Missing Child Alert system to improve the identification information available to law enforcement officials in missing persons cases. While PatienTrak is not a personalized GPS tracking system, it is a detailed database of medical records and family descriptions available electronically that can help facilitate the search for a missing child. The system includes updated photos, recent addresses and phone numbers of relatives, and a search algorithm that can sent alerts via the phone to other residents and businesses in the area of interest. The system is available nation-wide as has located over 130 missing children to date.


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