New Plan For Tracking Sex Offenders

Local authorities say keeping track of sex offenders in the area is about to get much easier, thanks to a new registry that will be used by both the city and county. Bill Stamps explains.

In the past, the City of Houston and Harris County each had their own separate sex offender registries. That meant each agency had a harder time knowing who was registered in the other’s computers. But not anymore. The two entities will not only share one list, but they will also share offices.

Police Charles McClelland says the move makes sense for many reasons.

“Under our existing policies and procedures prior to this merger, it was confusing. Not only confusing to law enforcement but confusing to sex offenders. Do they register in Houston, do they register in Harris county? When they move, where do they register within the Houston Harris county area.”

The two agencies will coordinate sex offender registrations using a program call Offenderwatch. This is District Attorney Pat Lykos.

“We can do the facial recognition, the fingerprint, all of the identification and do the follow up. One single place. Where they were before on Lockwood, you’d have a sex offender perhaps waiting to register while you’d have a victim of a criminal offense waiting to talk to a detective.”

Officers say in the past it was a lot easier for offenders to fall through the cracks due to the separate systems. By combining their registry and resources, they believe most of those cracks will be patched up.

Bill Stamps, KUHF News.

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