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You can access several Websites that host a national sex offender database, and many states also maintain individual sex offender Websites.
The purpose of a national sexoffender database is to inform the public of registered sex offenders that live in their area. These sex offenders have been convicted as specified in the Wetterling Act as any criminal offense against a victim who is a minor or any sexually violent offense. Typically, this includes information about those sexual offenders who were convicted of offenses involving sexual molestation or sexual exploitation of children, and anyone convicted of rape and rape-like crimes.
National sex offender registries provide the public with a list of convicted sex offenders. With over 1,000 sex offenders reporting a change of residence everyday, these Websites must continuously be updated with this new information.
A typical national sex offender registry will provide the following information:
* Name of offender.
* Aliases of offender.
* Nature of the offense.
* Birthdate of offender.
* Address of offender.
Many national sex offender registries allow users to check for updates online. Some Websites even offer e-mail alerts if there are any changes or additions to the sex offender list in your area. Finally, some Websites offer mobile phone access, depending upon your phone carrier services.
The National Alert Registry gives a list or registered sex offenders for the United States. Visitors to the Website can perform sex offender searches. The public can access a list of sexual offenders for their area by simply typing in the zip code of their city or town.
If you have a question about someone who has contacted you or your child online, you can also check for sex offenders by typing in an e-mail address.
A typical sex offender report from the National Alert Registry will list the following:
* Map of the designated area
* Number of offenders reported
* Radius of miles
* Name of offender
* Picture of offender
* Offense committed
Because the risk of new sexual predators moving into an area continues to be a very real issue, the National Alert Registry eliminates the need to continuously check the Website or contact a local law enforcement agency. They have created a Red Alert notification.
As the national sex offender registry is continually updated, the Red Alert is an e-mail that is sent to individuals alerting them to a new sexual offender in the area. You no longer have to search through sex offender registries to see if a new sex offender has moved to your neighborhood! A notification that includes the date the sex offender has moved to your area, along with information about that predator will be included.
Some of the problems associated with national sex offender lists include the following:
* Many states place search limits on the search requests.
* Some states do not consistently update their sex offender lists.
* Some of the Websites have limited functions.
In many cases, concerned citizens contact their local law enforcement registry. This will work, but they often have to complete an information request form and wait for the reports, which can take time.
The National Alert Registry provides a complex database that offers nationwide coverage. This registry tracks all registered sex offenders and inputs that information into the database.
The Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identificaton Act of 1996, otherwise known as the Lychner Act, was created as a part of the national sexoffender registry. It requires the Attorney General to create a database at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to track the whereabouts and movements of sex offenders. There are two main obligations concerning the Lychner Act.
* A database with a national sexoffender list is maintained at the FBI to keep track of the movements of any person who has been convicted of an offense against a minor or has been convicted of any sexual offense.
* A national sexoffender registry that requires offenders to register their current address and update those addresses when changes occur.
Verification requirements and reporting guidelines differ within each state. The resources for some states are very limited, and thus one state's maintained database may not be updated as quickly or as often as another state's.
Most national sexoffender databases are updated several times each month. There may also be a few states that aren't covered under a national sexoffender database. In that instance, the public should contact their local law agency for a listing of area sex offenders.
Keep in mind that mistakes can and will be made on these databases. Sexoffenders may not contact their local agency to notify them of an address change, names may be misspelled, or incorrect information may be given. If you do come across information that appears to be incorrect, contact your local law enforcement agency.
The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Agaist Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act was created as a part of the Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which requires states to create a national sex offender registry. Criminal offenses that fall under this act include the following:
* False imprisonment of a minor, except by a parent.
* Kidnaping of a minor, except by a parent
* Solicitation of sexual conduct of a minor
* Criminal sexual conduct towards a minor, which includes sexual abuse, rape, sexual assault, and incest).
* Solicitation of a minor to practice prostitution
* Use of a minor in a sexual performance
* Any conduct that is a sexual offense against a minor