The State of Arizona has had a searchable registered sex offender registry on-line for quite some time. The search is functional, though a bit tedious at times. Here's a screen shot for a search of my zip code:
The main problem with this site is some of the search limitations. For example, I live in the FAR east part of the zip code shown above. There is a registered sex offender about two miles from my home — in a different zip code east of mine, so they aren't shown on this map. Now I could have searched by my specific address and found this guy. But a real estate consumer doing their due diligence is more likely to search by zip code — and possibly miss something important.
Enter a better sex offender registry search. Courtesy of Vision 20/20, Inc., this search uses a far more intuitive interface than the State's website, and displays results in an easier to visualize manner. There is no cost for this service.
I found Vision 20/20's search easier to use, and much easier to visualize the results, compared to the states solution. The data set appears to be the same between the two sites, and I suspect Vision 20/20 pulls data from the State.
For our out of state readers, many other states also have sex offender registries managed by government entities (try Googling "state sex offender registry"). Vision 20/20's solution appears to work on a national level as well.
There are some out there that think it's not "fair" to publicly list sex offenders. I'm not even going to go down that road. If you don't want your picture shown next the the words "sex offender" then don't do it. I for one like to protect my wife and kids and appreciate knowing who's around. Recidivism rates (repeated violations) of sex offenders tends to be higher than it is for other criminal offenses. Here is an interesting look at recidivism in sex offenders. To be "fair and balanced", here is an article from PrisonActivist.org that claims the recidivism rate for sex offenders are over-reported and are actually "low" at "only" 13.4%.
There are approximately 11,000 registered sex offenders in Arizona. If "only" 13.4% of them commit another sex related crime, that's "only" 1,474 criminal sex offenses.
That's comforting. I think I'll keep the registry searches bookmarked and continue to supply the search sites to our clients.
Hat tip to TechCrunch!
[tags]sex offender search, Vision 20/20 [/tags]