In spite of Jessica’s Law and municipal efforts, California’s registered sex offenders are frequently clustered into local neighborhood condos, single family homes and apartments. Learn how to use the Megan’s Law website and stay safe.
Visit the Megan’s Law Website
The California website for Megan’s Law is located at http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/. The Office of the Attorney General operates it. Foreign language access is available in Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. Visitors to the Megan’s Law website should choose the language they are most comfortable with.
Understand the Setup
As of the writing of this article, the site tracked in excess of 63,500 registered sex offenders. Complete residential information is available for more than 33,500 of them; 30,500 are displayed only with a zip code and city but not street address. Not part of the registry are yet another 22,000 sex offenders that the Attorney General’s Office asserts are “known to law enforcement personnel.”
Getting started on the Megan’s Law Website
Click on the ‘continue’ button at the bottom right of the website. Read through the Megan’s Law Disclaimer. This legal document advises the visitor about the limitations of the website, the registration law and also the potential for faulty geographic information. The disclaimer also warns that it is illegal to harass a sex offender.
It is noteworthy that a sex offender who accesses the California Megan’s Law website becomes punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. Click on the field that precedes the sentence (in red font): “I have read the disclaimer and agree to these terms and conditions” and click on ‘continue.’
Defining the Search Parameters
Choose to search for registered sex offenders by county, name, address, city, zip code, nearby parks or nearby schools. For example, when running an address search it brings up sex offenders that live within one to two miles of the home. Look for small and larger blue square. A small blue square denotes a singular sex offender living at an address. A large square indicates clustered sex offenders living at the same address.
Identifying Sex Offenders
Click on the blue square nearest to your residence. (Make sure that pop-up blockers have been disabled!) It will bring up the last known address and photo of the registered sex offender.
Other information includes the offender’s weight, height, eye color, date of birth, nature of the offense, known scars or tattoos and also known aliases the person has used in the past. It is possible to contact the Department of Justice with new or updated information by clicking on the ‘Report Information to the DOJ’ button. Another way to search if by school; enter the name of the school, select the search distance, city name, zip code, county and then click on ‘search.’
Familiarize yourself with the registered sex offenders in your neighborhood. Avoid them and teach your children which houses to avoid during school fundraisers and ‘Trick-or-Treat’ activities. Check the addresses of your child’s friends and know which sex offenders live in that area. Share the information with the parents of your child’s friends.
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