Searching for sex offenders? There's an app for that
Posted February 6, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolinians now have a new tool to help locate registered sex offenders near homes, schools, parks or any location, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Monday.
The North Carolina Department of Justice has developed a free North Carolina Sex Offender Registry application for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The app is available for download via iTunes or at ncdoj.gov.
The department hopes to make the app available for other platforms in the future.
“Knowing where sex offenders live can help you plan for your and your children’s safety,” Cooper said in a statement. “Families are on the go, and we need to make this critical safety information available to them where they are.”
The new app allows users to search for registered North Carolina sex offenders by GPS location or street address from wherever they are. Offenders’ home addresses are pinpointed on the app’s on-screen map with red markers. Users can search for all offenders within a 1-, 3- or 5-mile radius and can zoom in on the map.
Offenders’ names and addresses are listed below the interactive map. Clicking on an offender’s name allows users to view detailed information, including photos and a physical description. An additional click on the offenses button pulls up a list of the offender’s crimes requiring registration, including the age of the victims.
Users can also sign up to receive email alerts whenever a registered offender moves near their home, local school, daycare center or any other address they choose, or to receive alerts about a particular sex offender.
Like the N.C. Sex Offender Registry website, the app does not include details on out-of-state crimes committed by offenders registered in North Carolina. Users have to go to that state’s sex offender registry to determine the underlying convictions for out-of-state offenses.
North Carolina’s Sex Offender Registry includes the photos, names, addresses and conviction information of nearly 14,000 registered sex offenders from across the state. Convicted sex offenders are required by law to register with their local sheriff’s office and to update the information that is made available to the public through the registry.
However, a sex offender can change residences, and many offenders move frequently. Anyone with information about a convicted sex offender who is not properly registered should notify their local sheriff.
North Carolinians can also get an alert by telephone when a convicted sex offender moves into their zip code, or to get telephone alerts about a specific offender, through the N.C. SAVAN system by calling 1-877-627-2826.
Under North Carolina law, convicted sex offenders must register with the sheriff’s office where they live in person and must verify their address every six months. State law requires that most convicted sex offenders register for a minimum of 30 years, but are eligible to petition the court to be removed if they meet certain criteria after 10 years.
If the offenders are not removed by the court, they remain on the registry for life. Recidivists, aggravated offenders and predators must remain on the registry for life. Failure to register as required is a felony, as is assisting someone in avoiding their duty to register.