Web map charts distances between sex offenders, schools

By Dave Gomez

Internet users can now access an updated map of DeKalb County sex offenders residences.

The map has been updated to include distances between sex offenders and schools and day care centers.

The maps can be used by parents to plan safe routes to and from schools and safe play areas, said Ron Matekaitis, DeKalb County State’s Attorney.

“No child should have to come into contact with a sex offender based on a lack of information,” Matekaitis said.

Under state law, sex offenders are prohibited from living within 500 feet of a school or facility with programs exclusively directed toward people younger than 18.

Sex offenders are registered when they leave prison or when they meet with their probation officers, said DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott.

They then have 10 days to register as sex offenders in the jurisdiction where they will be living, Scott said.

“They’re required to notify the agency where they’re at, then notify the new agency where they’re moving within 10 days,” he said.

All information on the person is entered into a state computer system, which will recognize and register non-compliant sex offenders and alert authorities.

Failure to register with the Sex Offender Registration Act is a felony, Scott said.

People convicted of sex offenses are also restricted in traveling.

Public places catering to people younger than 18, such as schools and registered day care centers, are off limits to convicted sex offenders unless they are there to pick up or drop off a child of their own.

Parks are also off-limits if there are children present.

Beverly Smith, principal of the Montessori School of DeKalb, 302 Fisk Ave., said schools also receive frequently updated lists of sex offenders’ names and residences, along with their offenses.

Smith said children at the school are safe and always attended.

“We’re watchful,” she said.

A map of sex offender residences in DeKalb County is available on the DeKalb state’s attorney’s Web site, www.dekalbcounty.org/court/states_attorney.html.