Internet Helps Keep Track Of Neighborhood Sex Offenders
Internet Helps Keep Track Of Neighborhood Sex Offenders By Dara Mormile
As a result of the Brooklyn District Attorney's Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA) of 1996, dozens of web sites post the residence and backgrounds of registered sex offenders. The law made it mandatory for convicted sex offenders to register their address and physical characteristics to the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) before re-entering the community.
Offenders are also assigned a risk level classification before they register. The ranking is determined by crim-inal charges against the individuals, as well as the likelihood to repeat the crime. Level One offenders register for twenty years, Level Two and Three offenders must register for life as well as report their resident address to au-thorities no later than ten days after relocating. All offenders, regardless of level, are required to confirm their information annually with the DCJS. Failure to register could result in a prison term from four to seven years.
Since this information is a public record, several web sites, such as www.familywatchdog.com, participate in the National Offender Sex Registry. Visitors to the site can locate offenders by inputting a street address and zip code. A map of the borough then allows visitors to click on a location closer to their home where markers identify offenders' work and home addresses. These sites also help to conduct background checks to determine if potential babysitters and new neighbors are sex offenders.
United States Department of Justice statistics indicate there are more than 60 registered sex offenders in the three local zip codes: 11234, 11236 and 11239.
The public can also access records on offenders by asking the local precinct for a Subdirectory. Police are authorized, but not obligated to notify the community about sex offenders who reside there.
The Brooklyn District Attorney's office encourages parents to educate their children about being careful around strangers.
After the Sex Offender Registration Act was enacted Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes said in a statement, "Every child in our community de-serves the full protection of the law. Information and education can help us reach this goal."
See related story on Page 15.