RALEIGH — Want to know if any sex offenders are in the neighborhood? The N.C. Department of Justice has an app for that.
Attorney General Roy Cooper announced recently that his office had released a free N.C. Sex Offender Registry application for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. As of Monday, more than 18,000 people have downloaded the app, according to a statement from the Department of Justice. During a period last week, it was nationally ranked as one of the top 10 educational apps on iTunes.
North Carolina’s registry includes the names, photos, addresses and conviction information for about 14,000 registered sex offenders across the state. There are 232 registered sex offenders living in Robeson County, according to the registry.
The app allows users to search for registered sex offenders using the GPS location feature on the Apple products. The offenders’ home addresses are displayed on the map’s screen with red markers, and users can search for all offenders within a one-, three- or five-mile radius of an address on the map.
Clicking on an offender’s name allows a user to view detailed information about the offender, including photos and a physical description. A second click pulls up an information on an offender’s crimes.
“Knowing where sex offenders live can help you plan for your and your children’s safety,” Cooper said. “… Parents and citizens have responded by adding this important tool to their overall safety plan.”
Users can sign up to receive email alerts whenever a registered sex offender moves near their home, school or day care center. They can also receive alerts about a particular sex offender.
The app was developed by the Department of Justice’s information technology staff using information on the N.C. Sex Offender Registry compiled from local sheriffs. The department is working on an app that will work on other platforms, such as the Android.
Cooper hopes the new app will help law enforcement crack down on offenders who move without providing a new address, as required by law.
North Carolina law says that convicted sex offenders must register in person with the local sheriff’s office every six months.
The app does not include details on crimes committed by North Carolina offenders in other states; users would need to go to that state’s sex offender registry to get that information.
The app can be downloaded for free from iTunes or www.ncdoj.gov.