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Sex offender registries: Are they reliable?

Many South Carolina residents do an online search for sex offenders living in their neighborhood. This is especially common when people move into a new environment. However, did you know that these sex offender websites may not be accurate? In fact, in five states, these sites overestimate the number of sex offenders in a particular community by as much as 60 percent.

New research has found that these registries include people who are not actually living within the area. They list those that have died, are in jail or have moved out of the area. In fact, the study showed that out of 201,135 listed sex offenders, only 43 percent were actually living in the communities detailed by the registries.

While registries may seem helpful, they are only useful to the public if they are reliable. If they are haphazardly maintained, they have little worth. Furthermore, they imprecisely assess the level of dangers in a community, which many people depend on.

The repercussions of sex offender registration can be one of the most frightening penalties that you can face as a sex offender in South Carolina. With this new information, it is alarming to know that these systems are not even accurate. Maybe it is time for the legislature and safety agencies to reconsider this type of crime prevention system. After all, it is giving false information to the community.

If you are confronting a charge for a sex crime, you may want to ensure that you have adequate legal assistance. An attorney may help you keep your name off of this flawed list.

Source: Newswise, "Sex-Offender registries list individuals not living in community," April 2, 2012

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