Local News

Mobile app points out presence of sex offenders

Posted October 29, 2009
Updated October 30, 2009

It's Halloween. You want to keep your trick-or-treaters safe and you want to avoid the homes of registered sex offenders.

There's an app for that.

Research Triangle Park-based Handstorm Inc.'s program, StaySafe, is one of several mobile applications that track registered sex offenders across the United States.

StaySafe, for the Apple iPhone, is just one app of its type. The P.O.M. Offender Locator is available for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones.

Both promise to track sex offenders and analyze risk level at a user's exact location.

The data is drawn from a national sex offender registry to find offenders by location, name and physical characteristics. The programs show photos and descriptions of each offender and what offenses they committed.

Parent Nancy Franks sees the utility of such a tool.

"You just want to make sure you're not getting candy from people you don't trust,” she said.

Most parents are aware that they can check a list of sex offenders on the Web site of the state Department of Justice. Mobile applications make that information available to people when they are away from the computer.

“A lot of times you think about that stuff when you're on the fly and you have to wait until you get home to look on the Web site,” parent Asa Fleming said. “(If) you have it on your BlackBerry, you can do it right then.”

Handstorm’s Dwayne Williams described how it works. “We look at where you are, look at a radius around you, ages of victims, gender of victims."

Asa Fleming said he would consider downloading an offender tracking app before his kids go hunting for sweets.

"Being on that list is something people need to know about, especially if you have children because you want to protect your family," he said.

9 Comments

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  • Mom2two Oct 30, 2009

    PUHLEEZE! The ends people will go to, to make a buck, and for what? Maybe parents shouldn't send their kids to houses where they don't know the occupants. Maybe there are PLENTY of sex offenders that aren't listed on the registry. Maybe your kids' youth minister or soccer coach is downloading child porn on the side. Parents, it is time to rely on your own common sense, teach your kids basic safety, and more importantly, stay a little more "plugged in" to your kids and their lives and little less into "devices."

  • htomc42 Oct 30, 2009

    Will it filter out the people on the registry for sexual activity between teenagers, or people urinating in the woods? How about people falsely accused? (personally saw it happen!)

  • roncorey1 Oct 30, 2009

    wow.....suburban soccer moms and their endless quest for "safety".......how pathetic

  • QTC Oct 30, 2009

    It looks like some GOLO users should do an Internet search for "Sex Offender Registry Abuse". Innocent people are being hurt/killed because of address inaccurcies. Meanwhile, the Registry has created a false sense of security among parents. The problems seem to outweigh the benefits, causing some to question whether the database should continue to exist.

  • dbcooper41 Oct 30, 2009

    glad to see that sex offenders have become such a lucrative industry.
    it was be nice if just once people would work on fixing a problem instead of profiting off of it.

  • OSX Oct 29, 2009

    DeathRow... very nice, lets encourage kids to vandalize and break the law against people who have already payed their debt.

  • larky74406 Oct 29, 2009

    Ridiculous.

  • UNC81 Oct 29, 2009

    The downside is that you have to get a cell signal to refresh the data. That won't happen when you're out and about on AT&T.

  • tavia07 Oct 29, 2009

    The app has horrible reviews on iTunes...might want to wait until they fix the map to download it.