Kudos for keeping us up to speed on sex offenders

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

Nobody wants a sex offender living next door to them. That's especially true if the individual is a convicted child molester.

We applaud Ohio for taking positive steps in assuring everyone who has access to a computer can find out if a registered sex offender is living in their neighborhood. Last week, Attorney General Jim Petro announced Ohioans can sign up for e-mail notification if a sex offender moves into their neighborhood. Residents can sign up through the attorney general's Web site at www.ag.state.oh.us or through a county sheriff’s site.

Email newsletter signup

The program was tested in Mercer, Lucas, Washington and Stark counties with approximately 10,000 people signing up.

Approximately 40,000 e-mails have been sent in those counties, which proves that people want to know who their neighbors are.

Also, sheriffs' offices throughout the state are expected to have Web sites that will give residents access to additional information on sexual offenders.

Approximately 11,000 sex offenders are registered in Ohio in three different categories. The worst is a sexual predator - a person considered the most likely to commit another sex crime. The middle classification is an habitual sexual offender and the lowest classification is a sexually oriented offender.

Everyone convicted of any sex offense is automatically classified a sexually oriented offender and is required by law to register with authorities where they live for life. Depending on their classification, police are required to notify schools, day cares and neighbors when such an offender moves within 1,000 feet of them.

However, nothing is really keeping these potentially dangerous individuals from committing crimes beyond that 1,000 feet radius. While it would be too much to ask local authorities to notify everyone in a community that a sex offender is living among them, it is nice to know that those wanting that information has it available to them.

We compliment the state for taking the initiative to make this information readily available. Also, our hats are off to our local sheriff's office for their work in keeping track of local offenders.