2WTK: How NC Keeps Tabs Of Registered Sex Offenders

GREENSBORO, NC -- This week, five law enforcement agencies worked together to make 242 unplanned visit to registered sex offenders in Forsyth County. In those visits, 14 possible violations were found: 1 violation of computer crime, 1 weapons, 1 living too close in proximity, 11 not notifying or registering an address change.

Being able to make 242 visits in two days is huge. Most departments have one or two officers assigned to checking if registered sex offenders are living where they say they are living, much less doing a visit to see if there are other possible violations.

In North Carolina the SBI mails out letters to each sex offender every six months. The letters tell the sex offenders to "report in-person" to the sheriff's office to re-verify their address. And if they don't, then the one or two officers have to then track down the offender.

Just last month 2WTK's Ben Briscoe found a way to save time and money. You see, other states update their registries differently. Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia do not mail out reminder letters.Instead, while in court, sex offenders get two dates to check in.

The offenders must remind themselves. Guilford County Sheriff Officer Brian Henderson says, "It's part of paying for the crime you committed. This is what you need to do. So why not make them responsible?"

And why not save taxpayer's money? Right now, sex offender registry reminder letters are sent certified mail. It costs $6.48 per letter. Each sex offender gets at least two a year. Now multiply that by North Carolina's 13,558 registered sex offenders.These letters add up to at least $175,000 of your taxpayer dollars.

The State Department of Justice keeps a running total of sex offenders in an online data base. You can check by county.

Convicted sex offenders have had to register with the state since 1996. It used to be after 10 years on the registry-- the sex offender's name just disappeared off the registry. But in the last few years that has changed. Offenders are now on the list for 30 years but they can petition to have their name taken off in 10.


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