After the Webinar: Addressing Organized Retail Crime with Specialized Police Technology. Q&A with Travis Martinez

Webinar presenter Travis Martinez answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Addressing Organized Retail Crime with Specialized Police Technology.  Here are just a few of his responses.


Audience Question: So, what’s the name of those tracking devices, again, that you’re using? And then could you also share the costs again? 

Travis Martinez: Okay, so the tracking company we use is 3SI Security System. You can, a simple Google search will put you in touch with their website. They do have various types of trackers now. They have ESO trackers that are more, you can put them in bike thefts, they are more variable. You can deploy them in a variety of ways as I talked about. But they also have like jewelry boxes, cellphones, and cash packs. It really expanded. They have hard case trackers. We’ve actually put them in, we had problems that people stealing stuff at the cemetery. We actually threw them in some solar lights and some flowers and caught those people stealing stuff at the crazy stories out there. I mean, we’ve been doing it for over 10 years now, and so you can imagine some of the stories we have. The thing about 3SI is they have a Law Enforcement Division. So, 3SI, as I mentioned, that they sell them for the banks, and for this, they have like a commercial side. So, they have a Dispatch Center that monitors all the commercial trackers. So, they have a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week call center that you could call if you ever need help, but they also have a Law Enforcement Division that will work with your police departments to do these types of deployments. So, I can get you in touch. If anybody has any questions, I can put them in touch. I don’t have the I don’t see the chat box here. Also, I can give you a number, but I can share that on my e-mail.


Audience Question: What is, what are the costs, like, again? 

Travis Martinez: Okay, so the costs, I believe now, and don’t hold me to this, I believe now, they’re like 530 to purchase. Then definitely the cell phone fee, so that they operate off cell phone towers and cell phones, right? So, you have to pay a cell phone fee I think that seeing that fee now is $30 a month. And it’s either 530 or 560, is to purchase the device, but that’s the only one you’ve purchased the device. Every year after that, you’re just paying the cellphone fee. That’s 500 and $30. And there are 4G trackers now they’re Wi-Fi based also. So, there are a lot of trackers we bought back in 2010 that are a lot different than trackers you buy right now.


Audience Question: What are your thoughts about using Apple air tags? 

Travis Martinez: So, Apple, air tags, I actually have, one are, the problem with mine, is the battery died quickly. So, here’s why I like the 3SI trackers, okay, as they are programmed into our dispatch. Dispatch gets the alert. They, I’m a big fan of dispatch getting the alert because I’ve heard I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard stories of, “Oh, Hey! We only want these four guys to get the trackers are on our special ops team and they’re going to do with the investigation.” Well, those four guys doing investigation, but guess what? It’s Labor Day Weekend and they’re all at the river and guess where it gets stolen on Labor Day weekend? I’m a big fan of having dispatch get the alerts and then have patrol make the arrest. I’d rather have a burden hand than two in the bush or whatever however that the saying goes, you know, because I can, then you can start working backward, right? As opposed to because if you don’t work at right away, I’ve heard stories of, right, man. We didn’t work and we woke up the next morning, we were all sleeping. We didn’t get the alert. We woke up the next morning, the things, 100 miles away on. Your work is a little bit harder now. Because there are sometimes that we’ve only had our Special Ops guys do it. Some of these ORC investigations though, if you have a team that’s going to be monitoring it 24/7 and you can let it go and get a fencing operation. Sometimes it’s worth a try doing that. But you really have to be really in tune with using, and knowing how the technology works. And just having that team on hand on stand-by debate, no unmarked cars to make, you know, follow them. What happens is the people that did the, what happens if someone does that robbery, burglary and then they go and they immediately sell this stuff and in the parking lot or sell it. You know fencing, and then you’re, you don’t catch the bad guys, but you have the people that they show it to you and they’re going to say, Oh, hey, I thought it was, you know, I didn’t know were stolen, and you don’t really have a case.


Audience Question: How are you using criminal intelligence, put in parentheses, LA clear, to enhance and coordinate your investigations? 

Travis Martinez: So, you know, if it lands at someplace, LA clear is great——– locations. So, we will, if it lands at a place or we’re trying to go with the fencing operation, You know, that’s where LA clear comes in, de-conflicting and so that, if we’re working at it, we’re working it. We’re not going to interfere with the LAPD that’s working the same group.


Audience Question: Do cell signal jammers interfere with the technology? 

Travis Martinez: Yes. So, what we have found is we’ve never seen somebody with a cell phone jammer. We’ve never ran across that. But yes, it would. What we also found though, is with the GPS tracking, you can’t put it in something like… I’ll give you this example. Like we put it in an iMac computer one-time, right? It wouldn’t track it’s because the iMac computers were all-metal casing. So, if you have put it like in a metal thing, it’s not going to track. So, I was telling people “Hey, you can’t do Mac computers.” Why, one of the guys, after I did a class, he sent me some pictures, like, “Hey, I put it on a Mac computer it tracks perfectly.” So, what he did was, he drilled holes in the metal case and put like to snowboard skater stickers over the holes, and the signal escape. So, you know, if you get creative, you can get some of these cops are great at being creative solving problems. So now, in some of my PowerPoints, I use that picture of the Mac. So, but, yeah, the metal will throw off the signal. You’ll still get the alert, but you won’t be able to track it. And any type of cell phone jammers would definitely do that, too.


Audience Question: Do businesses or organizations or companies ever object to bringing the Redlands PD tracking technology into their organizations? And if so, what are the objectives? 

Travis Martinez: So obviously we can only put these in businesses that want to work with us and do it voluntarily. So, most of the, all the businesses, all the mom-and-pop businesses they want to play. It’s when you get to the big, big businesses where you what our city attorney wants hold harmless. And so, basically, trying to minimize the city liability, which, we’re going to buy it anyway If we get in a shooting or whatever, as long as there are people doing the right thing. So, what we have found that, when you start getting into the big businesses, they’re like, if they’re like, “Well, hey, I need to talk to my lawyers or need to send at the corporate level, and then they get the lawyers involved, and then it never happens.” So, but some of the big businesses are franchise owned, and they’re like, we’ve had businesses, where they’re, like, “Oh, we have extended up to the corporate level,” and then they get hit again, and they’re like, “Oh, screw it, we’ll sign it” the hold harmless, so, and I can send you guys copies of the hold harmless if you send me an e-mail.


Audience Question: So, do the larger companies, like Kohls and Sephora… do they just implement their own technology, and just let you know about it, or how does that work?

Travis Martinez: So, I mentioned that for 3SI they have the commercial side. So, like the Ulta, Kohl’s, they all have their own trackers, but they will on the website they’ll connect to our system, so we get the alerts also to their commercial trackers. Because if you have trackers deployed in your city, you want to get the alert immediately. Because there’s always a chance that they could find the trackers, especially when it’s in money, they’re going to go through the money, and they’re like, Oh, hey. There’s a tracking device, they may throw it out. Like, you know, like at a bank. That’s why on the robberies when you stick it in a cash register, we tell our clerks, we’re batting a thousand dollars and the clerks take some money and put it and puts it in a bag and mixes it with a bunch of other money.  Because then they can’t tell the difference, and they can, there, it takes them longer to go through the money and find the tracker.



Audience Question: When you did the town halls with the community, what were their concerns? And can you also talk about any of the privacy concerns that they brought up? 

Travis Martinez: So, some of the some of the concerns that they brought up were, “Okay, hey, you’re keeping our images too long.” “No, we’re only keeping it for 30 days,” because they read the stuff on their way, on the Internet. “Hey, we’re concerned with ALPR programs, the cops are tracking, you got your cars, and they can, paint a picture of your whole life over that they’re keeping the images for years.” “Nope. We’re only keeping them for 30 days.” “ Oh, hey, you can just look and see where we’re going anytime.” “Nope, we have policy.” In fact, it’s a state law here in California that you have to have an ALPR policy if you’re going to put an ALPR on that. And part of that is having an auditing program. So, what we do is we audit our ALPR program and if you’re going to search for an image, you have to put a case number and a reason why you’re doing that search. You can’t just go in there, we’re, like, “Oh, hey. I want to search, you know.” An officer can’t go in there and like track his girlfriend or whatever, you know. You have to have a reason, or else you’re going to be held internally liable for that. So, those are the big ones, was tracking just doing searches, for any officer can just do searches for any reason. Those were the two big ones.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Addressing Organized Retail Crime with Specialized Police Technology.


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