Saturday, February 04, 2006

For Parents Out There

It is rare when I get to combine my career with the substance of TPS, but I wanted to take this opportunity to pass along a website that I learned about at work -- and I think all you parents out there might want to know about it.

The website, www.mapsexoffenders.com, states its affiliation and purpose better than I could, so, in its own words:
MapSexOffenders.com is part of Orbizon Inc., a privately owned web development and technology company based in Orem, Utah committed to building interactive, easy to use websites that aid users in a variety of ways. All of our websites are user friendly and provide a vast amount of information in an accessible format.

The purpose of this site is to inform the general community of sex offenders in their area in a straightforward way. Sex offender registries have been on the internet for many years, but they are hard to find and even more difficult to use. MapSexOffenders.com is simply a map so that the data can be easily viewed. Each sex offender is highlighted on the map and you can zoom in to view the offender, address, and other information. The map also links to the state registry for additional information such as the vehicles offenders drive and their convictions. Parents concerned about their neighborhood or those who are moving can use this free service to make sure they are in a safe neighborhood.

MapSexOffenders.com maps all sex offenders in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. It is our goal to map all 50 states in an interactive, easy to use design.

I am not a parent yet, but for those of you who are, I encourage you to plug in your zip code and see what happens. You may be as horrified as I was to learn that sex offenders can and do live in very close proximity to dozens of schools, parks, and other venues where children are known to congregate. (One would think that, of all the laws that state and local governments pass, one of them would forbid sex offenders from living in areas that would permit close contact with children. To my knowledge, there is no such law, at least not anywhere in this country.)

No parent should be without this protective service.

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