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New Law Aims to Take Down GPS Stalking

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - It may seem like something out of a movie, but a new state law signed Wednesday cracks down on stalking by GPS.

"Sadly, this is real life," said State Senator Tim Kennedy, co-author of 'Jackie's Law.' "This is happening with much too much frequency. There are far too many cases of using a GPS device to stalk and ultimately abuse a victim that are happening not only here in Erie County, but across the state and across the nation."

The Law was prompted by the death of Jackie Wisniewski. Wisniewski was killed by a stalker who had installed a GPS tracking device in her car.

Previously, there was little police could do in such an event. The new law allows anyone who commits such an act to be sent to jail. "Individuals who use GPS systems or electronic devices to stalk or follow the movements and location of their victims will immediately be charged with stalking in the fourth degree, which carries up to three months in prison."

In addition, the legislation allows law enforcement to prosecute perpetrators without requiring the victim to press charges, meaning the onus of pursuing criminal charges on someone who uses a GPS device to stalk someone shifts from the victim to law enforcement.

Kennedy says that as far-fetched as it may seem to some, stalking by GPS happens frequently.

"In the statistics that we have seen, there has been hundreds of thousands of cases of stalking utilizing GPS tracking devices across our nation. As technology increases, the law needs to keep up with technology."

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