SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Hundreds of thousands of Californians remain in the dark as another round of planned power outages hit California. Parts of 29 counties and nearly 600,000 customers are affected. And now the shutoffs are raising new concerns that violent offenders could take advantage of the outages.
Victims rights groups say the fear is real. They want to make sure offenders using tracking devices are being monitored.
“They’re not only worrying about electricity in their home, and water from their well, but they have to worry about their perpetrator not being monitored,” said Laura Valdes, victims rights advocate with the Yolo County District Attorney’s office.
With no electricity, sex offenders are not able to charge their tracking devices, which need to be recharged daily.
“If their GPS monitors are not able to be re-charged, they have an excuse, a free ticket to re-harm their victim or someone else,” she said.
Sacramento County supervising probation officer Clifford Foster said that during critical incidents, officers increase their staff and home visits.
“We’ll have extra officers going out and checking up on our offenders,” said Foster. “When we notice someone’s device is not charging, we’ll have field officers bring batteries that are charged.”
He adds, “through the device, we can send messages to the client to call us.”
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and several county probation departments say there have not been any issues.
“GPS devices worn by parolees hold a charge for an extended period of time and agents are alerted and monitor low-battery status,” CDCR said in a statement.
State and county agencies are monitoring closely and say there is no increased safety risk.
“We are making every effort possible to keep in contact with all clients, no matter what conditions they have with their GPS,” said Foster.