Keeping watch on offenders

Sexual crimes happen everywhere, by all types of people to all types of victims. They are not confined to racial or socio-economic barriers and certainly not unique to one area.

As Shelby County continues to grow, it should be no real surprise that the number of sex offenders has been on the rise since we last took a look at the issue in October 2005. There are now more than 160 registered offenders across the county, 90 of which are required to register for public notification. The Sheriff&8217;s Department&8217;s Web site says the number increases 10 percent annually.

While the number is increasing, so is the watch to identify and track such offenders in hopes to avoid future victims. That is why we have dedicated most of the space in this week&8217;s news section to the issue.

Yes, it is the Shelby County Sheriff&8217;s Office&8217;s role to locate and track sexual predators, but we can help.

We all have the opportunity to track these criminals, by studying and using the list of offenders found here and on the Sheriff&8217;s Office Web site to help keep an eye open for suspicious behavior.

Don&8217;t think you don&8217;t live close to one because statistics show you do.

According to the Sheriff&8217;s Department, more than half of rape and sexual assault incidents occur within a mile of the victim&8217;s house, and 80 percent of all addresses have a registered offender living within a mile.

The odds are real, but so is the opportunity to help reduce such odds.

In addition to having detailed information in this paper, take advantage of the protection being offered by the Sheriff&8217;s Office. Log-on to www.shelbyso.com and click on &8220;Sex Offenders&8221; to register for community notification. An e-mail can be sent to notify you when an offender moves within a mile of you, your relatives or your child&8217;s school or favorite playground