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FDLE offers e-mail sex offender alert

TAMPA — Whether 5 miles away, down the block or just next door, if a new neighbor is a registered sex offender or predator, citizens can now be notified via e-mail alerts.

The free service provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement allows citizens to create an account that will send an e-mail alert within 24 to 48 hours of an address change for offenders and predators in the state's registry.

Alerts also can be set up to track any individual sexual offender or predator, the agency said Thursday. Users can track an unlimited number of addresses and offenders and predators.

The new tracking feature will not notify individuals of offenders and predators already living in their area, but that information is also available at the Web site: www.flsexoffender.net.

The new messaging system became available to the public Thursday, and is just the latest online upgrade from the FDLE.

Last year the agency offered the ability to search for an e-mail address or instant message screen name for sexual offenders and predators.

The FDLE developed the notification service in response to the federal Adam Walsh Act, which aims to expand the national sex offender registry, strengthen federal penalties for crimes against children, and make it harder for sex predators to reach children on the Internet.

"This is a big jump for us as an agency and a state," said Jim Madden, special agent in charge of Tampa Bay regional operations for the FDLE. "It provides a practical tool."

Eleven other states have a similar e-mail alert system, said Madden. The service is free to citizens. Madden said it costs the state $50,000 a year for two years and the agency plans to renew the service after that.

Amber Mobley can be reached at amobley@sptimes.com or (813) 269-5311.

>>Fast facts

How to use the service

A how -to guide to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's sex offender and predator alert system.

Go to: www.flsexoffender.net.

Click on: "FLORIDA OFFENDER ALERT SYSTEM" on the left-hand side of the page.

•  Enter the e-mail address where you want to receive alerts and click "Continue with Subscription."

•  An e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address you provided with instructions on how to continue the subscription process.

•  Once you have fully subscribed to the alert system you will be allowed to update your account information, add or update the names of registered sexual offenders or predators you would like to monitor and addresses you would like to track (for example, you might enter your child's school address, your home address or even your business to see when sexual offenders and predators move into and out of various radii, from a quarter-mile to five miles, of your selected addresses).

FDLE offers e-mail sex offender alert 03/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 27, 2008 11:51pm]
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