There are about 7,000 registered sex offenders living in Maryland, many of whom have been convicted of crimes against children. All law enforcement agencies in the state of Maryland recently implemented a new technical system called OffenderWatch that completely integrates every agency into a network of 15,000 users who oversee 600,000 registered sex offenders. In addition to the network, the software helps each user streamline processes to improve the state’s sex offender registry.
By using the OffenderWatch network, Maryland agencies moved away from using separate, stand-alone data systems for managing sex offender information to collaborating with the nation’s leading sex offender registry network of enforcement agencies. Collaboration on a single offender record has been proven to be the single most efficient way of tracking offenders as they move from one jurisdiction to another. As a member of the OffenderWatch network, Maryland agencies have seamless, real-time communication on offender relocations and with access to the nationwide database of sex offender records, improving efficiency, timeliness, and accuracy of the sex offender registry is instantly realized.
OffenderWatch is the nation’s leading sex offender registration solution, with more than 15,000 users at law enforcement agencies in 50 states using the technology. Local, state and federal agencies use the network to monitor sex offenders, communicate with other registering agencies, immediately update the sex offender registry website, and notify the community within a radius of the offender’s address. With each edit of the offender record, the OffenderWatch system automatically updates the department’s sex offender listings on the department’s website and sends email notifications to the public.
“We believe it’s critical for law enforcement agencies to share important data for multiple reasons: better compliance, more effective investigations and ultimately safer cities and neighborhoods,” said Mike Cormaci, president and co-founder of OffenderWatch. “OffenderWatch makes sharing that data extremely easy, improving accuracy in the offender records and saving time in investigations when minutes and hours can mean the difference between life and death.”
There are more than 900,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. However, agencies often use disparate systems for managing sex offenders. These systems can falter when offenders move from one agency to another jurisdiction, as the offender must notify the new agency by showing up at their office to register. This can be an opportunity for an offender to “fall through the cracks” of the registry. OffenderWatch prevents this by automatically notifying and sharing records with destination agencies within the network. All relevant data from sources and agencies is maintained in a single offender record, improving accuracy, offender accountability, and aiding in public safety.
OffenderWatch also allows local Maryland agencies to easily send real-time alerts to the public when a registered sex offender moves into their neighborhood. The service is available at no cost to the public, and people can sign up to receive email or mail notifications associated with any address—at home, school, work, gym, daycare, a park, or more.
OffenderWatch also helps enhance community safety, as a collaboration with 3,500 networked agencies improves and streamlines offender management and public awareness. Using OffenderWatch, Maryland can instantly share records any other registering agency in the OffenderWatch national network. Instead of spending hours researching each new offender and locating old court and registration documents, Maryland agencies instantly obtain the full historical record of the offender, packed with related documents and images. This information is vital as registry officers can collaborate with other agencies on child abductions and investigations of absconded offenders.
OffenderWatch also connects the agency to improve collaboration with the U.S. Marshals, Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) teams and other investigators, all enhancing public safety. Additionally, residents will have access through the DPSCS website to search the full nationwide OffenderWatch network for information on offenders to get the information they need to help keep their families safe in their physical, as well as online.
Sign up for free alerts when a registered sex offender moves into your neighborhood on the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services website: http://www.socem.info/.