Features Make it Easier for Public to Locate Registered Sexual Offenders in State
HARRISBURG – Improvements to Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law Web site will make it easier for the public to find information about registered sexual offenders in the state, acting State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan announced.
The Web site is www.pameganslaw.state.pa.us.
“The site’s new features enhance the user’s ability to determine whether someone in their neighborhood is a registered sex offender,” Noonan said. “Parents and others can use this information to help protect themselves and their families.”
Noonan said the site includes a radius-search function that allows the user to enter an address; establish a search radius of a half-mile, one mile, three miles or five miles; and query the system for offenders who live or attend school within the designated radius. In response, the site returns a listing and map of offenders.
Users also can search for sexual offenders using drop-down lists of municipalities and counties.
The site has a Soundex feature that takes a name entered by the user and provides a list of individuals with that name and with similar-sounding names.
“This means that even if a user misspells the name of an offender in the system, the new site will be more likely to make a match and provide information about the offender,” Noonan said.
He said the upgraded site features geocoding and Google mapping of offender addresses. The site continues to provide the most current photographs of offenders.
As part of the upgrade, the system is now retaining each new photograph of offenders. These will be dated and displayed on the offender’s page.
“Citizens still can provide anonymous tips about the whereabouts of offenders using a “Submit a Tip” function,” Noonan said. “And the site includes more than 20 crime prevention links and information on topics ranging from Internet safety to victim resources.”
Noonan said state police hope to add an electronic community notification feature to the Web site that will allow users to receive public notifications about Megan’s Law offenders via e-mail or text messages using the state’s AlertPa system. He said action by the General Assembly would be required before such a feature can be enabled.
Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law requires the state police to create and maintain a registry of persons who live, work or attend school in the state and who have either been convicted of, entered a plea of guilty to, or adjudicated delinquent of certain sexual offenses in Pennsylvania or another jurisdiction. The full list of applicable offenses is available at the Megan’s Law Web site.
For more information, visit www.psp.state.pa.us or call 717-783-5556.