Covington’s OffenderWatch’s Sex Offender Monitoring Technology Bridges Gap In Agency, Interstate Communications
COVINGTON – OffenderWatch, the largest private network linking sex offender registry personnel together in the United States, believes when it comes to monitoring sex offenders, there are opportunities for states to increase efficiencies and better communicate with one another.
The Covington-based company is working toward a national unified registry and solution to the communication and data silos currently found across local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. The current sex offender registry system outside of OffenderWatch makes accounting for offender movements cumbersome, company reps said.
Today, there are more than 800,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S. However, most states have a different system for tracking offenders within each state, making it difficult for agencies to keep records when offenders cross state lines. The OffenderWatch Record Locator system was built to connect the information gap between agencies monitoring sex offenders, reps said. The OffenderWatch network currently has 3,500 law enforcement agency’s sex offender registry information—making it the most comprehensive data system of its kind with the most up-to-date data on the status and location of registered sex offenders, reps said.
According to a recent analysis from OffenderWatch Record Locator, registered sex offender location data is often inaccurate due to interstate data and communications silos.
New data sourced directly from the OffenderWatch Record Locator product analyses found:
• 18 percent of registered sex offenders have records in more than one state
• 16 percent of absconders have records in other states
• 7 percent of absconders can be quickly located as they are actively registered in another state
• 9 percent of active sex offenders are also actively registered in another state
• Dozens of registered offenders are incarcerated or deceased in other states
• 3 of every 1,000 registered offenders get arrested in another jurisdiction
OffenderWatch imports its partners’ list of registered offenders into the OffenderWatch Record Locator system every night, reps said. The records are then searchable by out-of-state agencies, and partners in the network can search and interact with registries across the country.
The OffenderWatch Record Locator network solves the four biggest problems of sex offender monitoring and alerting, reps said:
• Sharing offender movement information between jurisdictions.
• Sending validations on offender relocation compliance to the appropriate local jurisdiction.
• Searching and updating information on offenders inside and outside of your jurisdiction.
• Receiving notifications on incarceration and release outside your jurisdiction.
The national average of youth who are sexually abused before the age of 18 is one in five girls and one in seven boys, according to SMART (Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking), a part of the Office of Justice Programs. Unfortunately, only one in three children report the incident of abuse. Without the other two-thirds of victim reports, law enforcement agencies are already at a disadvantage for apprehending sex offenders. However, to make the most of the data that they have, law enforcement can opt-in for a shared registry.
“Without a data-sharing culture among law enforcement and a unified sex offender registry, the number of victims of sex abuse rises,” said Mike Cormaci, president and co-founder of OffenderWatch. “Registries work, and the proof is in the data. By working together to close the gaps in information we can keep the public safe.”