The Iowa Department of Public Safety has upgraded the state sex offender registry to make it easier to search out the offenders living in your neighborhood. Steve Conlon of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says you can now go to “Iowa Sex offenders-dot-com” (iowasexoffenders.com) and enter an address. The registry will then find registered sex offenders living in a one, two or three-mile radius of that address. Conlon says you have to have a numeric address followed by the street name and the city. He says a zip code is not required, but it will enhance the search.
After you enter the information, Conlon says a map will appear on your computer screen listing a green star showing your location — and different balloons showing the addresses of sex offenders. He says if there’s a yellow balloon with an “A” in it, the offender had to register because their victim was an adult. A red balloon with an “M” in it indicates the victim was a minor, and a blue balloon with the letter “U” in it indicates the age of the victim was not reported.
Conlon, who is the assistant director of the D-C-I, demonstrated the new website feature by typing in the address of the Sioux City police department. The address pulled up several different balloons and Conlon explained what each of them meant. Conlon says if you put your computer cursor over the balloon, it will show you a picture of the offender and their name. If you double click on the balloon — an expanded information file on the offender opens up.
Conlon says the sex offender registry already is heavily used — especially when there are news stories about offenders. He expects the enhanced site to get even more use. He says, “This is something that we feel is more going to readily identify an immediate neighborhood for a family.” Conlon says this could be something where a person may want to use their home address, or you may want to enter the address of a prospective daycare center to find out if any registered sex offenders are in the area.
Conlon says the upgrade was made with 25-thousand dollars appropriated by the legislature last year. He says that money also help them improve the way the system is updated. Conlon says, “We are as current as we’ve ever been. There’s not much of delay in getting new registrants put into the system and a minimal time delay in the address changes.” Conlon says this is one of several planned upgrades and they would next like to add a feature allowing you to be notified by e-mail when an offender moves into your neighborhood.