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Sex offender registry adds telephone alert tool

North Carolina officials plan to launch an upgrade to the sex-offender registry Tuesday. Residents will now be able to access information about sex offenders via telephone.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina officials planned to launch an upgrade to the state's sex offender registry Tuesday. Residents will now be able to access information about sex offenders via telephone.
The new tool is being made available through the Statewide Automated Victim Assistance and Notification (SAVAN) system, which helps crime victims find out custody status and court information about offenders.

There are 144 registered sex offenders in Johnston County, nearly 260 in Durham County and more than 550 in Wake County, according to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

"Parents need to know about this so they can plan to make sure their kids are safe,” Cooper said.

The state sex-offender registry has been available online and by e-mail.

"There are tens of thousands of people who don't use computers regularly but who need this information," Cooper said.

People who sign up for the service will receive a phone call when a sex-offender moves into their neighborhood.

"I think it is really good for the communities,” Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

Harrison said that while some sex offenders can be rehabilitated, others show a pattern of repeating their crimes.

"Sex offenders have a tendency to re-occur, do some of the same stuff over and over again,” he said.

Cooper planned to talk about the new tool during a Tuesday-morning news conference at the Governor’s Crime Commission Conference Room.

On the N.C. Offender Registry Web site, you can search for convicted sex offenders, view maps and aerial photographs of offenders’ registered addresses and sign up to get e-mail and telephone alerts.

To register for the telephone program, call 1-877-627-2826 (1-877-NCSAVAN).