Creepy: Police In a Coronavirus 'Hotspot' Are Using Heat Maps to Detect 'Stay-at-Home' Violations

Posted: Mar 30, 2020 8:35 PM
Creepy: Police In a Coronavirus 'Hotspot' Are Using Heat Maps to Detect 'Stay-at-Home' Violations

Source: AP Photo/Vicki Cronis-Nohe

Washington State has been one of the major "hotspots" for the Wuhan coronavirus. In fact, their outbreak at the Life Care nursing home in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle, was the first main hotspot in the United States.

On February 29th, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued a State of Emergency declaration. He then issued a shelter-in-place order on March 23. That order was then extended on March 30th and has no definitive timeframe for when the order will be lifted. 

While the state aims to crack down on people violating the shelter-in-place order, the police in Bellevue, another suburb of Seattle, took things a step further. Residents can go on the MyBellevue app to report potential illegal gatherings or business activities. Those reports then generate a heat map for Bellevue police to use to enforce Inslee's shelter-in-place order.

“As officers are available, they will respond to these reports and use this opportunity to educate and instruct people about the state’s 'Stay Home' mandate,” Maj. Andrew Popochock, who oversees the patrol division, said in a statement. “We are not going to arrest people; we are educating them to stay home.”

Under Inslee's order, people are required to stay at home unless they work at an essential business, are going to the grocery store, medical appointment, are picking up and/or delivering take-out food or going outside for exercise. 

Residents across the state are encouraged to report potential businesses that are violating the shelter-in-place order. Instead of calling 911, Inslee and his team encouraged residents to make the report in an online form

Businesses that fail to comply will be hit with citations or permit suspensions. That can include revoking a business license if deemed necessary. If the business owner still fails to comply, they will be referred to Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office for either civil or criminal charges, Q13 reported.

As of Sunday, Washington State has 4,850 confirmed Wuhan coronavirus cases and at least 195 deaths.