2009-11-13 / Top Stories

New Law Provides Email Updates On Sex Offenders

By Miriam Rosenberg

Governor David Paterson Governor David Paterson With approximately one-fifth of registered sex offenders who are deemed at moderate or high risk for repeat offenses, living in Queens County and calling the Rockaway peninsula home, Governor David Paterson has signed a new state law that will enables residents to be alerted when a level 2 or level 3 sex offender moves into their neighborhood.

State Senator Jeff Klein of the Bronx and Assemblyman Rory Lancman from Forest Hills sponsored the bill which states that, "Automated e-mail updates would allow people to keep tabs on a specific geographic area within New York, such as where they live or where their children attend school, and [it] would save them the time-consuming chore of making regular visits to the subdirectory website and having to enter their personal information before each visit."

Queens County has 1,138 sex offenders on the New York State Sex Offender Registry. This number includes all risk groups. Five hundred and ninety-one are listed on the level 2 or 3 public registry. As of November 2, 60 of those offenders live on the Rockaway peninsula. Broken down by zip codes the numbers for the peninsula are Far Rockaway (11691) with the most offenders, 34; Arverne (11692) has 16; Rockaway Beach (11693) has five, and Rockaway Park (11694) has five. There are no registered sex offenders living in Breezy Point (11697).

"New Yorkers deserve to have the convenience and peace of mind that these email alerts will bring so that we can continue to protect our children from the kind of unsavory individuals who are, in many cases, our neighbors," said Klein.

Currently state residents can get information on registered Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders by logging onto www.criminaljustice.state.ny.us/nsor/ search_index.htm and entering a suspected offender's name, county or zip code. Residents can also call the Sex Offender Registry at 1-800-262-3257. The amount of information the registry will give out depends on the risk level of the offender.

"Using the statewide emergency communication system, NY Alert, it will be easy for New Yorkers to register for instant e-mail notifications," said State Senator Joseph Addabbo." They won't have to spend time scanning New York State's Sex Offender Registry, available to the public at local police stations, or calling a tollfree number, or viewing an Internet subdirectory at the Department of Criminal Justice Services Web site."

Sex offenders are classified into four categories: Level 1 - low-risk of a repeat offense, Level 2 - moderate risk, Level 3 - high-risk and Level P - the risk of a repeat offense has not yet been determined. Only Level 2 and Level 3 offenders are on the public list.

The new law, which should take effect early next year, allows for state residents to be notified by e-mails for up to three different zip code areas at no charge.

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