GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WFMY) — It’s supposed to be a tool you can use to keep track of convicted sex offenders in your neighborhood, but is the registry always right?
According to North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation, the SBI and county sheriff’s offices attempt to ensure that registry information is accurate and current, but not that information can quickly change, despite the database being updated regularly.
In North Carolina, sex offenders register with the local sheriff’s office. From there, deputies will input information into a database and the SBI takes the information and puts it on the registry.
To verify addresses, the state will send regular letters to offenders on the registry.
“The state mails out letters to the sex offenders registered address twice a year if they’re a regular sex offender, every 90 days if they’re an aggregated or recidivist,” explains Sgt. Beth Buskirk with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office. “They’re required to bring those letters to our office within 3 business days and they verify their address that way.”
If a sex offender does not turn in the letter or if the mail goes back to the sender, deputies must try to make contact with the registered sex offender. Deputies are also allowed to do random check-ins at an address listed on the registry.
“A majority of the sex offenders are in compliance and do what they need to do, but we do have a small percentage that take up most of our time,” said Buskirk.
If you’re curious about a person in your neighborhood, you can look them up by name or address and see when the last time their address was verified by clicking on their profile.
If a registered sex offender fails to update their address, they can be charged with a felony. If you think a sex offender either lives near you or needs to be registered, you can reach out to your local sheriff’s office to follow up with the information.
You can also sign up for alerts if a registered sex offender moves to your neighborhood through the SBI’s website or using the national app.