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Searching for sex offenders? There's an app for that

Posted February 6, 2012

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— 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.

35 Comments

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  • trueangel24 Feb 7, 2012

    It good idea, but there a problem, it only for iphone, what about the other mobie phones.

  • linspace Feb 7, 2012

    The problem with your idea is every employer I have ever worked for does a criminal record search so all those crimes (such a robbing a bank) would the person back for years. Especially being most companies run a arrest report (which never expires) because they are cheaper, faster, and include all things you have been charged with not just convictions.
    WooHoo2You

    I agree, but it is NOT a registry pulled up so easily in an age of witch hunts. And sex offender brings up more emotion and distrust than old robber. There is more stigma attached to it.

    As for your other comment.. I am not sure what urban legend you refer to, but I KNOW THE PERSON PERSONALY.. so you can take that to the bank. And there are MANY other DOCUMENTED.. not urban legends cases of people on the registry that are not true sex offenders. The problem is, it does not differentiate. You could have been a 19 year old with a 16 year old.. but the label of sex offender carries with it the stugma of child molester and rape

  • za2duke Feb 7, 2012

    Ridiculous. What a waste of resources. More fear campaigning: everybody should be terrified of leaving their front door! But don't worry, now there's an app for that. Big government's got you covered.

    Meanwhile, the big government is passing laws and doing things behind our backs while we all cower in fear of leaving our homes. And don't get me started on how ridiculous this sex offender registry is in the first place.

  • Disabled Vet Feb 7, 2012

    Tattoo a big ole letter "P"" on their forehead for all to see what they really are, which by the way, WRAL will not let me put what the "P" stands for on here but you should be able to figuure it out.

  • WooHoo2You Feb 6, 2012

    linspace,

    The problem with your idea is every employer I have ever worked for does a criminal record search so all those crimes (such a robbing a bank) would the person back for years. Especially being most companies run a arrest report (which never expires) because they are cheaper, faster, and include all things you have been charged with not just convictions.

  • WooHoo2You Feb 6, 2012

    I know someone who was drunk, pulled over, and urinated in public.. wrong to be sure, but they were caught and are now on the sex offender registry.. I have a problem with this.. you should also..-linspace

    We have all heard that urban legend but have never met the person...

    And what do you mean by 'public?'

  • linspace Feb 6, 2012

    I have a problem with the sex offender registry as a whole. HEAR ME OUT.. I am NOT soft on crime. If we want to give true sex offenders a life sentence.. FINE.. let's do so.. I agree. BUT.. if we say 10 years.. or whatever, once they have served their time their debt to society is paid. however.. placing on them on the registry gives them what amounts to a life sentence. They can not live, get jobs etc. We do not do this with other criminals.. if a bank robber gets out, there is no registry for that. So, either give them life to begin with.. which I am all for, or, if not, then once released, they should be treated like ANY other ex-con.. Under this system, we are Guaranteing that they will commit more crime..

  • linspace Feb 6, 2012

    I know someone who was drunk, pulled over, and urinated in public.. wrong to be sure, but they were caught and are now on the sex offender registry.. I have a problem with this.. you should also..

  • itsmyownopinion Feb 6, 2012

    Want to perpetuate vigilante justice with GPS locations? There's an app for that! The whole idea of knowing where sex offenders live is foolish. They can hop in a car and be anywhere. Just because you don't have one living in your neighborhood doesn't mean they can't cruise your neighborhood playground.
    Qwerty27807

    It helps parents with the common sense to look not to allow their children to go to a sex offenders home to visit, stay overnight, play video games, watch TV, have a snack, etc. Child sexual predators will do almost anything to entice a child to get their hands on them, etc.

  • WooHoo2You Feb 6, 2012

    Also, for a while, 14 year olds sexting pictures of themselves were also put on the list for child pornography.-walkerp1

    That I agree was pretty stupid and simply receiving an unsolicited sext message from a minor would also land you on the list. BUT are a majority of "offenders" cases like these or are they actual molesters, rapists, real child porn cases, etc?

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