Tracking sex offenders with phone apps - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Tracking sex offenders with phone apps

Posted:

Natasha Miller said she picked out the perfect Halloween costume for her 2-year-old son, Daylin.

This Halloween is Daylin's first time trick-or-treating.

"He's a talker," Miller said. "He loves talking to strangers. He doesn't know a stranger, so that's one thing I have to keep an eye out for. I have to keep him by me at all times."

Miller said she knows some of those strangers could be sex offenders.

The Adams County Sheriff's Office said there are more than 50 registered sex offenders living in Adams County.

"It's kind of scary to know that someone would think of my child in that way and it's something that worries me," Miller said.

Police say special cell phone apps that track sex offenders can help you plan a safer trick-or-treating route.

Sgt. Rich Wagner with the Adams County Sheriff's Office said even though new laws in Illinois ban sex offenders from handing out candy, parents still need to be on guard.

"Halloween. All the kids are out running around and sex offenders - if there's one out there that wants to be bad and do the wrong thing," Wagner said. "It'd be a good opportunity for them."

Wagner said free apps like "Offender Search" and "Safe neighborhood"  provide pictures of the sex offender and  street-level views of where they live.

Wagner said some apps can even notify you by e-mail or text if a sex offender moves into your neighborhood.

"I would recommend looking at the app and making sure it's got a lot of good reviews on it and then, of course, you can sign up and they can notify you by text or e-mail exactly if there is a sex offender that moves into your neighborhood," said Wagner. "It'll be able to tell you where they're at in your neighborhood."

Wagner said it's important to realize that sex offenders can live anywhere.

"Sex offenders can be found in all neighborhoods, from the upper class neighborhoods to the lower class neighborhoods, to the small towns, to the city of Quincy," Wagner said. "They can be all over."

So Wagner said having an app right at your fingertips on Halloween can make trick-or treating a lot safer and easier, too.

"They are a threat. They are out there," Wagner said. "They've violated before. More than likely the odds show they will repeat offend."

"If there's a neighborhood that there's a bunch of sex offenders on a block, then might as well skip the block altogether and go somewhere that's a nicer neighborhood and doesn't have as many red dots on it," Miller said.

Miller said she plans to use the sex offender apps this Halloween to keep Daylin out of harms way.

"It's good to know where they're at in case he does get away from me and there's a likelihood that he might get taken by someone and something horrible would happen to my son. And I definitely don't want that," Miller said.

Current laws regarding sex offenders in:

Illinois

Offenders may not hand out candy

Missouri

Offenders may not hand out candy

Offenders must post a sign at their residence stating "No candy or treats at this residence"

Offenders must keep outside lights off if they are home

Offenders must not be outside their home between 5 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Iowa

No laws exist regarding sex offender activity on Halloween

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WGEM. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Kathy Woodworth at 217-228-6617. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.