May 21, 2013

Homeless sex offenders present challenge to police

5-21-2013 New Hampshire:

Some address information for offenders not specific

Convicted sex offenders are required to keep police informed of their whereabouts, but when sex offenders are homeless, police often need to take extra steps to keep track of them.

Wendell Ford is a convicted sex offender who's required by law to verify his address at least twice a year. On the registry, his address is listed simply as a blue and white tent.

"If they're homeless, if they're living in a certain area, we ask them to put where they're living," said Detective Lt. Timothy O'Malley. "If they live in a vicinity near a railroad track on the south end in a tent, then we would put that on the form."

But Ford's information didn't contain any specific area. Scanning the list, News 9 found several similar situations. In Concord, sex offenders were listed as living in a blue and black tent, in a van and in a car.

In Manchester, the east side and downtown parks were listed as addresses, but they didn't contain any more specific descriptions. That's a concern for victims.

"When it comes to sex offenders, one of the things from a victim's perspective is knowing where they are, and it makes it much more likely that the victims are able to go on with their lives, knowing that somebody is monitoring that," said Jill Rockey of the Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire.

The city of Concord has a designated detective who keeps track of offenders.

"The detective generates a list of offenders, a random list, every week, and patrol officers will go out and verify the addresses of the offenders, and that way, it's a proactive measure to make sure the offenders are living where they say they are living," O'Malley said.

Police said that through that process, they know where the homeless offenders are staying. If they fail to register, a warrant is issued that also shows up on the registry. ..Source.. by

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