See the map of locations at the bottom of this article. Patch will produce a similar map for Manahawkin and Long Beach Island.
The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General (OAG) website says that its sex offender registry is made available on the internet “to enable you to take appropriate precautions to protect yourself and those in your care from possible harm.”
Learn more about the NJ sex offender registry or search other cities here.
Authorities emphasize that the information on the database can’t be used to threaten, intimidate or harass an offender. Just in case there’s any confusion about that last part, the OAG provides a huge, flashing disclaimer before visitors can search the registry:
In addition, the listed addresses in the registry may not necessarily be correct, authorities say.
“Although efforts have been made to ensure the information is as accurate as possible, no guarantee is made or implied… Information may also be subject to change and re-verification,” the OAG cautions.
Telling The Whole Story
Being listed on a state’s sex offender registry doesn’t tell the entire story, according to some advocates.
For example, in August of 2015, a 19-year-old male was placed on the Michigan sex offender registry after he had relations with a 14-year-old girl who lied about her age. He was listed on the registry even after the girl admitted she lied about her age and she and her mother both pleaded with the judge not to tag him as a sex offender.
In 2017, the Board of Directors for the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) wrote a letter to Patch, objecting to the publication of maps using information from sex offender databases.
“Each year in the month prior to Halloween, articles warning parents about the danger posed at Halloween by persons who are on sex offender registries begin to appear. The Patch has been especially diligent and prolific in this regard, often printing maps with little dots showing where registered persons (aka “monsters,” “bogeymen,” “pedophiles,” “ghouls”) happen to live. For almost as many years, the scientific and academic communities have scorned and protested this practice. The reason they do so is simple: There is no heightened danger posed to children by those on registries in regard to Halloween or Halloween activities.”
“Last year, in a NARSOL Halloween editorial, we made the request for a map to be displayed with dots showing all of the places where a child had been harmed or abducted by someone on the registry going back as far as registries have been prevalent – over 20 years. Such a map would display no dots because exhaustive research has turned up not so much as a single case.”
>> Read the full NARSOL letter to Patch here.
“Megan’s Law, civil commitment and… banishment zones, which restrict sex offenders from living within certain geographic areas, all play to the fears of the public,” former Executive Director of the ACLU of New Jersey Deborah Jacobs wrote in 2006. “But when it comes to stopping sex assaults, these measures do more harm than good.”
“Rather than banishing sex offenders and asking them to succeed in a hostile environment, we should focus resources on programs and policies that will actually reduce the likelihood of sex offenses occurring in the first place,” Jacobs stated.
Patch’s Editor-In-Chief: Here’s Why We Do It
Patch’s editor-in-chief explained the reason for publishing the annual maps in a 2017 editorial. (Read the full article here)
“Lisa French isn’t a mom. She never grew up to raise children of her own. Her life ended Oct. 31, 1973, at the hands of a man thereafter known as the ‘Halloween killer.’ Out trick-or-treating that evening, dressed as a little hobo, she knocked on a neighbor’s door looking for a handful of sweets and chocolates, but that night she came face-to-face with evil. The Halloween killer took her inside his home, took her innocence and took her life. Lisa French was just 9-years-old. ‘I doubt that I could ever fully realize the terror you experienced at my hands,’ Gerald Turner wrote in a ‘letter’ to his victim.”
The editorial continues:
“We publish sex-offender maps because people deserve to know whether they live near someone like Turner who’s preyed on the most vulnerable. Every state now has a sex-offender registry. While there is no national database, the U.S. Justice Department maintains a national public offender sex registry website with links to lists for every state and territory. Laws have been passed barring registered sex offenders from passing out candy on Halloween or attending community Halloween celebrations. In the days before kids trick-or-treat, many police and sheriff’s departments visit their towns’ sex offenders to remind them of the rules.”
“Statistics and research may show children are at no greater risk of falling victim to pedophiles on Halloween than any other time of the year, but that doesn’t mean children are not vulnerable. Some studies show there’s a one-in-four chance a convicted sex offender will run afoul of the law again, but most sex crimes go unreported, which means the true recidivism rate among molesters and child rapists cannot be known.”
The editorial states:
“We could very well publish these safety maps at the start of summer when kids are out and about playing, or the start of the school year when kids begin walking to the bus stops. We chose October, but the timing really doesn’t matter.”
The editorial concludes:
“Parents across Patch communities repeatedly tell us how much they appreciate our culling through public information to assemble these maps as a public service. We will continue to do so. We present the information clearly and plainly, without hype or hysteria. Knowledge is empowering, and if we’ve helped parents know more about their neighbors, that’s what matters.”
Sex Offender Statistics
Law enforcement officials and researchers caution that the registries can play only a limited role in preventing child sexual abuse and stress that most perpetrators are known to the child. The U.S. Department of Justice, which oversees the National Sex Offender Public Website, estimates that only about 10 percent of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child.
The Justice Department estimates 60 percent of perpetrators are known to the child but are not family members but rather family friends, babysitters, child care providers and others, and 30 percent of child victims are abused by family members. Nearly a quarter of the abusers are under the age of 18, the department estimates.
Several conflicting studies have been done to analyze sex offender recidivism rates – how likely is it that a person will commit another sex crime.
“Sex crimes are one of the most underreported crimes and are often unseen by anyone other than the victim and perpetrator,” the U.S. Department of Justice’s SMART program states. “Low reporting levels make it extremely difficult to estimate actual sexual recidivism rates. Additionally, only a small portion of sex offenses reported to law enforcement result in the offender’s arrest.”
However, SMART offers the following information:
- “The observed sexual recidivism rates for sex offenders overall range from 5 percent after 3 years of follow-up to 24 percent after 15 years of follow-up.”
- “Research that examines the recidivism of rapists and child molesters found the highest observed recidivism rates among child molesters who offend against boys. Comparatively lower recidivism rates were found for rapists, child molesters who victimize girls and incest offenders.”
- “Treatment has been shown to reduce recidivism by 10 percent.”
In addition, SMART states:
- “A 2004 study analyzed findings from 95 studies and found that sex offenders had an average overall recidivism rate of 37 percent compared to an average sexual recidivism rate of 14 percent, based on follow-up periods of 5 to 6 years.”
- “Five- to six-year rates of sexual recidivism for female sex offenders may be as low as 1 to 3 percent.”
SMART also released the following statistics on juvenile sex offenders:
- “Uniform Crime Report data show that about 15 percent of rape arrestees are younger than age 18 (FBI, 2009)… Victim reports, however, suggest that juvenile perpetrators may be responsible for as many as 4 out of every 10 sexual assaults.”
- “Results of meta-analyses, or studies combining multiple individual studies, indicate that juvenile sex offenders have a sexual recidivism rate between 7 and 13 percent. Research indicates their rate of nonsexual recidivism is between 29 and 43 percent. (It should be noted that sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes with only about 1 in 4 sex assaults being reported to the police).”
See Your Local Map Below
In New Jersey, convicted offenders are categorized by three “risk” groups: low risk (Tier 1), moderate risk (Tier 2), or high risk (Tier 3).
The markers on the map below represent the NJ Sex Offender Registry’s reported address of offenders convicted of sex crimes. Click on the markers to learn more. All offenders in Barnegat and Waretown are categorized under Tier 2.
Do you have an opinion about the New Jersey sex offender registry or the rehabilitation of convicted sex offenders? Write a letter to the editor on Patch.
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