New Yorkers can now register to receive alerts – via e-mail, text message, fax or telephone – whenever a moderate or high-risk sex offender listed on the public subdirectory of the New York State Sex Offender Registry moves to, or from, a community of interest to them and their family.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), which maintains the Sex Offender Registry, is partnering with the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) to provide sex offender relocation notices through SEMO’s NY-ALERT system. This new initiative results from legislation sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) and Assembly Member Rory Lancman (D-Queens) and signed by Gov. David A. Paterson last fall.
After registering (visit the DCJS website at www.criminaljustice.state.ny.us to learn more), citizens will receive sex offender relocation notices whenever a Level 2 (moderate risk) or Level 3 (high risk) sex offender listed on the public subdirectory moves into or out of a community of interest. By law, the state can only provide information about Level 1 (low-risk) offenders or those with a pending risk level through a toll-free number 1-800-262-3257.
Individuals can register up to three areas, either by county/municipality, zip code or specific address, or any combination of those three options, for which they would like to receive sex offender relocation alerts on medium and high-risk offenders. If a specific address is selected, a radius around that address, ranging from a quarter-mile to 25 miles, also must be selected.
NY-ALERT, which was established in September 2007, allows individuals to register to receive notifications – via telephone, e-mail or text message – about a variety of topics, including severe weather, missing children, transportation delays or public health advisories.
As of today, information on sex offenders also is available through the NY-ALERT system. Alerts are triggered when Sex Offender Registry staff members update offender address information; updates occur within 24 hours of receipt, Monday through Friday, during regular business hours. Individuals who don’t have access to computer can subscribe to receive NY-ALERT messages via phone by calling 1-888-697-6972 Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
The Sex Offender Registry currently includes 30,165 offenders: 11,293 Level 1 offenders; 10,734 Level 2 offenders; 7,521 Level 3 offenders; and 608 offenders whose risk level is pending. In 2009, registry staff processed nearly 31,000 address changes, and on average, 170 new offenders are added to the registry each month.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the Sex Offender Registry.
To sign up for the alert, please go here.