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GA: Registry a valuable tool in tracking sex offenders.

September 26, 2001

Registry a valuable tool in tracking sex offenders

By Debbie Rhyne

Nearly 300 people in Middle Georgia have committed crimes that have landed them on the state's sexual offender registry.

That number is a small fraction of the more than 5,200 people across the state who are on the registry for crimes ranging from rape and child molestation to aggravated sexual battery.

Since 1998, information on the state's offenders has been available through an online database to anyone with Internet access.

"It is the most popular site as far as Web hits," said John Bankhead, a spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which maintains the Web site.

The Web site includes an offender's name, age, address, crime and physical description. Offenders added to the registry in the past year also include a photograph.

Offenders are added to the registry when they are released from prison or placed on probation. Registry users can search for an offender by name, county, city or ZIP code.

"It's a minimum of 10 years," Todd Smith, a Macon probation officer who deals with sex offenders, said of the time offenders appear on the registry. "If you're declared a sexual predator, you're registered for life."

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Source: 2001 The Macon Telegraph