Local News

New phone system alerts of sex offenders

Posted December 16, 2008 12:16 p.m. EST
Updated December 16, 2008 6:00 p.m. EST

— North Carolina's attorney general and the Governor's Crime Commission announced on Tuesday a new alert system that notifies users when a registered sex offender moves into their neighborhood.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said during a news conference that the Statewide Automated Victim Assistance and Notification system's goal is to help prevent future victims of sex crimes.

More than 13,000 registered sex offenders live in North Carolina – more than 550 in Wake County, nearly 260 in Durham County and 144 in Johnston County.

Their data is stored in a public registry available to anyone with Internet access. But not everyone who needs the information has regular access to the Web, Cooper said.

"Families have to take a lot of steps to make sure their children are safe, and that means information," he said. "And one of the pieces families ought to know is if a sex offender lives near their home, the child's school, place of work, the child's day care."

To register for the free service, calling 1-877-627-2826.

The $33,000 program has been operational in a testing phase since October and has had approximately 220,000 registered users. Since then, the phone alert system has sent out 44 notifications, Cooper said Tuesday.