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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Importance of Accuracy

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The Importance of Accuracy

Many States now have laws that define where a Sex Offender may live, work, play, or just be. These laws are dependent upon the measurement of distances ranging to upwards of 2500 feet. In many cases the violation of these laws could result in a prison sentence. This is a very important point to be made. If you built a new fence and the fence was 3 inches into your neighbors property odds are the neighbor wont complain. At worst he can take possession of it, but the fence would generally be safe. But If you build your fence 3 feet into the neighbors property, there could be a lot of hostility coming your way. Your neighbor would not see that as a simple mistake. That is a lot of land loss that has a large enough market value to make it worth fighting over. So accuracy is very important to the measure of distances.

In a letter I wrote to NIST I inquired about the standards for the accuracy of distance measurements that are endorsed by NIST and used in States Law Enforcement. The response I received was not a great surprise as I was quite sure that the States did not use any standards.

I am responding to your inquiry regarding linear measurement restrictions used in many state, local and other laws. It would be impossible to answer any of your questions without conducting scientific studies of using actual data from enforcement actions and by studying the training and policies of the agencies which enforce these types of laws to determine how they instruct their officers to carry out the enforcement of laws which include these restrictions. I am not aware of any studies of this type.

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