For immediate release: Friday, Oct. 26
With Halloween around the corner, NYS reminds parents to check the state’s Sex Offender Registry
Information about offenders available online and via Facebook; parents also can register to receive alerts when medium- and high-risk offenders move
Costumes and decorations? Check. Enough candy to feed visiting ghosts and goblins? Check. A check of the state’s Sex Offender Registry before trick-or-treaters hit the streets in your neighborhood? Check.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) is reminding parents that they can use Facebook to access information about medium- and high-risk sex offenders living in their community with just a few clicks, and without leaving the popular social networking site. The Sex Offender Locator Application is accessible via the New York State Public Safety Facebook page: www.facebook.com/nyspublicsafety.
Facebook users also can share the application by posting this link as their Status update: www.facebook.com/NYSPublicSafety/app_244298272262448.
DCJS maintains the state’s Sex Offender Registry and a Registry subdirectory on the agency’s website (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) that by law provides information about Level 2 (medium risk of re-offense) and Level 3 (high risk of re-offense) sex offenders to the public.
The agency launched the Facebook application in time for Halloween last year, as a way to make Registry information more readily accessible. To access the Registry via a mobile device, visit www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/nsor.
New York’s Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Elizabeth Glazer said, “On Halloween, parents often allow their children to do what they normally wouldn’t any other day of the year: accept candy from a stranger or someone they may not know that well. The Facebook application gives parents another tool to learn where sex offenders live so they can ensure their children steer clear from those locations and stay safe.”
Added DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green, “Each year, as Halloween approaches, calls to DCJS and the Registry increase as parents and the media seek information about how to keep children safe from sexual predators. We wanted to take this opportunity again to remind New Yorkers about the Facebook application, in addition to the other ways they can learn about registered sex offenders and take the appropriate steps to educate themselves and their families about who lives in their community.”
As of Monday, Oct. 22, there were 34,729 registered sex offenders on the state’s Sex Offender Registry: 13,195 Level 1 offenders; 12,270 Level 2 offenders; 8,554 Level 3 offenders; and 710 offenders whose risk level is pending. Sex offender counts by county are posted to the DCJS website and updated weekly.
A sex offender’s risk level determines what information is available about an offender, and how that information can be accessed. By law, the state can only provide information about Level 1 (low risk of re-offense) offenders or those with a pending risk level through a toll-free number (1-800-262-3257); information about Level 2 and 3 offenders also is available via phone. Callers must have an individual’s name and at least one other identifier (an exact address, date of birth, driver's license number or Social Security number) to learn if that person is a registered sex offender in New York.
HHHome address information about a Level 1 offender is limited to zip code. Complete home and work addresses – street number and name, as well as municipality and zip code – are available for Level 2 and Level 3 offenders. For more information, check out these Frequently Asked Questions.
In addition to providing information about Level 2 and 3 offenders via the toll-free number, Facebook and the DCJS website, the state allows New Yorkers to sign up to receive alerts via e-mail, text, fax or telephone whenever those sex offenders move to, or from, a community of interest – their home, work or child’s school, for example. DCJS offers the sex offender relocation notices through the state’s NY-ALERT system; visit www.nyalert.gov and click on the “Sign up for NY-Alerts” link in the left menu to learn more and register.
Individuals can register up to three locations, either by county/municipality, zip code or specific address, or any combination of those three options, for which they would like to receive relocation alerts. Nearly 15,700 individuals are registered to receive e-alerts.
In 2011, the Sex Offender Registry staff processed more than 54,000 forms submitted by offenders notifying the registry of changes to their address, employment, internet and motor vehicle information. On average, about 170 new offenders are added to the registry each month. Registry staff members consistently meet DCJS goal of processing any new registration within one business day of receipt, and any change to an offender’s information within two business days.
DCJS is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state’s DNA Databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; administration of federal and state criminal justice grant funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.