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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NUMBER OF REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS IN THE US NEARS THREE-QUARTERS OF A MILLION

Registered Sex Offender Numbers Increased 23 Percent in Past 5 Years
California, Texas and Florida Top the List

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) released the results of its latest survey regarding the number of registered sex offenders located in the U.S.   The organization’s most recent survey of states found there are 747,408 registered sex offenders in the country today, which represents an increase of 7,555 offenders from the previous survey in June 2011.

NCMEC conducted its first survey in 2006, which showed there were 606,816 registered sex offenders in the U.S.  In just five years, an additional 140,592 convicted sex offenders have been added to sex offender registries across the country, an increase of 23.2%.  The three states with the largest number of registered sex offenders are California (106,216), Texas (68,529) and Florida (57,896).

“The courts have long held that the requirement that a convicted sex offender register with authorities is not punitive, it is regulatory” said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC.  “It is a reasonable measure designed to provide important information to authorities and to help protect the public, particularly children.  These registries are especially important because of the high risk of re-offense by some of these offenders, and the fact that most of the victims of America’s sex offenders are younger than 18 years of age.”

The first sex offender registry was created in 1947 in California.  Today, every state has such a registry.

NCMEC created the survey in 2006, following the enactment of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act in July of that year.  Each year since the survey was created, NCMEC contacts the sex offender registry in each state as well as registries located in the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).  In the US Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. Croix maintain separate sex offender registries, bringing the total number of registries surveyed to 57.

“America has awakened to the threat posed by sex offenders,” said Allen.  “Today, there is a system in place.  Law enforcement is more vigilant and common-sense steps have been taken to better protect the public, particularly the children.”

NCMEC has conducted 13 sex offender register surveys since 2006 and were performed quarterly until 2009.  Since then, they have been done twice each year.  

In 2006 NCMEC also created a special dedicated Sex Offender Tracking Team.  This group of analysts -- working with the U.S. Marshals Service and state and local law enforcement -- accesses donated public records data and aids in locating an estimated 100,000 noncompliant or fugitive sex offenders.   To date, NCMEC has received 15,802 requests from law enforcement nationwide to assist in locating noncompliant sex offenders, and has provided 15,763 analytical leads packages to law enforcement, resulting in the apprehension of thousands of fugitives.

[Source: NCMEC]

Map of Register Sex Offenders

National Sex Offender Registry & Database

GOOGLE TECHNOLOGY MAKES REPORTING CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION EASIER

ALEXANDRIA, VA –  Reporting suspected sexual exploitation of children just became easier.  The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) said today that the CyberTipline reporting form used by the public has been redesigned with the help from global technology leader Google.  The CyberTipline is operated by NCMEC and serves as the national reporting mechanism to report suspected sex crimes against children including child pornography, child sexual molestation and online enticement.

Thanks to Google’s assistance and technology, the redesigned CyberTipline is more user-friendly and easier to navigate.  By improving the instructions and simplifying the steps necessary to file a report, both organizations are hoping more people will come forward with information and report suspected child sexual exploitation.

An estimated 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before they reach the age of 18. 

With the increase of social networking, online gaming, webcams and other technologies, children today have more access to the Internet and these devices than every before and there are more opportunities for potential offenders to engage with children.

“The public needs to be vigilant and active in reporting suspected abuses against children,” said Ernie Allen, President and CEO of NCMEC.  “We have a responsibility to protect children.  If people witness child sexual exploitation, know about it, or just suspect it, they should report it immediately to law enforcement and to the CyberTipline.”

Created by Congress in 1998, the CyberTipline serves as the nation’s 9-1-1 for reporting suspected child pornography and other sexual exploitation crimes against children.

The CyberTipline receives reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   Trained staff analyze and develop the leads and then refer the information to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution.   

Since it was created, the CyberTipline has seen a dramatic increase in the number of reports received.  For example, in the first 10 months of operation in 1998, the CyberTipline received a total of 4,500 reports.  For the 12 months during 2010, the number of reports received that year had increased to 223,374.  Through November of 2011 the CyberTipline has already received 276,719 reports.  Since it was created in 1998, NCMEC has handled more than 1.25 million reports.

Reports about child sexual exploitation come from the general public and U.S. based Electronic Service Providers (ESP’s).  Each report may involve several dozen or even hundreds of images.  Reports are submitted electronically via www.cybertipline.com or by calling NCMEC’s 24-hour call center at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

Since inception, the general public has been responsible for making 45% of the reports with 55% from ESPs.  To date, ESP’s have reported more than 9 million images of child pornography to the CyberTipline. 

The CyberTipline is operated in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, the Military Criminal Investigation Organization (MCIO), the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces (ICAC, as well as other state and local law enforcement. 

CyberTipline Statistics

[Source: NCMEC

Thursday, January 5, 2012

AMBER Alert Awareness Day 1/13/2012: Event recognizes importance of alert


January 4, 2012 - Each year, law enforcement officers and communities across the nation observe AMBER Alert Awareness Day on January 13th. This year, area residents are encouraged to learn more about the alert system and its importance in locating missing and abducted children.

"AMBER Alert Awareness Day is a very important day," said Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly. "The awareness day was started several years ago to promote a super tool that gets alerts out to the public.

"AMBER alerts even go out to cell phones now," said Epperly. "It is a great tool that helps law enforcement officers find missing children quickly."

This year's AMBER Alert Awareness Day will mark 15 years since the abduction and murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman in Arlington, Texas. Hagerman's killer has never been found.

Hagerman's murder launched the America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert concept. The system allows alerts to be incorporated into modern day technology and reach the public through radio, television, Internet and cell phone text alerts.

"When an AMBER Alert is issued this gives information to the public and makes them aware of what they need to look for," said Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr. "Washington University did a study that stated 74 percent of children that are kidnapped and later found murdered were killed within the first three hours. So this tells us the faster a child is located the better the outcome may be.

"With the public having the victim, suspect and vehicle description there is a better chance of the child being located and authorities notified," said Kammerlohr. "I would encourage people to pay attention and write down the information that is given during an AMBER Alert as they may see something that may bring that child back home."

Local community members can assist law enforcement with child abduction recovery through the AMBER Alert program by signing up for wireless alerts at www.wirelessamberalerts.org.

Cell phone subscribers capable of receiving text messages can also register on their wireless carrier's website. Wireless users designate up to five zip codes from which they would like to be alerted in the case of an AMBER Alert activation.

Individuals with information on the abducted child or suspect vehicle can call the posted law enforcement agency number on the bulletin in order to provide officials with as much information about the sighting or location of the victim as possible.

On Jan. 8, 2007, when Ben Ownby was abducted from a bus stop in St. Louis, an AMBER Alert was broadcast with his information.

"A young boy remembered seeing a vehicle that was in the area of Ben's disappearance," said Kammerlohr. "He gave the information to the authorities, and on Jan. 12, 2007, Ben was located along with a suspect. Shawn Hornbeck, who went missing in 2002, was at the residence also.

"Without the authorities receiving this information, the outcome may have been very different," said Kammerlohr. "People can make a difference."

There are over 100 AMBER Alert Plans nationwide, including 28 regional plans. Plans have also been established in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Since its inception, over 500 children have been safely recovered through the AMBER Alert system.

[Source: Cassville Democrat By Lindsay Reed]

While January 13th is focused on increasing AMBER Alert awareness, Child Quest International ask you to please take this opportunity to engage children and the community in an informative discussions about the problem of missing children and how to prevent it