GPS Fighting Crime and Accidents

Devices delivered to local law enforcement by the Mississippi Department of Transportation are known as Global Positioning System receivers, or GPS.

The receivers are funded by a federal grant and are used to more accurately pinpoint where a car crash occurs. Aside from this, the GPS receivers also calculate the number of car crashes that occur in an area.

This information is used to determine which areas are most dangerous and what needs to be done to address the problem.

"Whether it's putting out a traffic light or redirecting some traffic around that area, maybe turning it into a one-way street, putting a 4-way stop up, maybe putting a traffic light," said Meridian's Assistant Police Chief Keith McCary. "So, it's really going to help us."

"With this we have a lot of tools under our belt," said MDOT's Jim Willis.
"These crash coordinates are going to help us ensure the safety of you and your family."

Aside from recording crash data, in the future local officials say they hope to use the receivers to fight crime.

"And what that will enable us to do is to track data and see from a geographical standpoint where our burglaries may be occurring and auto thefts," said Maj. Ward Calhoun of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department. "And at certain times we can change our patrols in those areas and perhaps have a turn effect on potential crimes in the future."

MDOT officials say they plan to distribute 3,000 GPS receivers to most, if not all, law enforcement agencies in the state.