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The National Sex Offender Public Website: Your Go-To Resource for Sex Offender Information

By Laura L. Rogers, Director, Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking
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There are many things to think about when planning a move to a new area and a new home: are the schools good, what will the taxes be, what will the commute be like, are there sex offenders nearby? Similar to finding out what the amenities or pitfalls are when you consider a new home, it's also good to locate where sex offenders live, work or attend school in the area. The easiest way to do so is to search the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW.gov) — the only federal nationwide sex offender website updated daily with accurate and current information.

NSOPW.gov is a free resource provided by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). NSOPW provides current information about sex offenders directly from law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including their names, aliases, current photographs, addresses where they live or work or go to school, their sex crime convictions, their unique features or tattoos, vehicle information and other identifying information. NSOPW is also available as a mobile app, which lets you search on the go by location or by name.

There are approximately 850,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. On NSOPW, you can search by name, state, ZIP code or a specific address (and radius). A name search will produce a list of all sex offenders with that name anywhere in the United States. A ZIP code or area/radius search will produce a list of all the sex offenders living, working or going to school in that area. Each search will produce an alphabetical list of sex offenders with photographs. Clicking on an individual listing gives you access to complete public registry information. NSOPW also contains valuable information regarding safety and education as well as resources for victims of abuse.

Congress enacted the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act in 2006. A major component of the AWA is the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which establishes that sex offenders convicted of certain serious sex crimes — everything from rape and child molestation to child pornography and sex trafficking — should register where they live, work and go to school. SORNA applies to all states, the five major U.S. territories, the District of Columbia and federally recognized Indian tribes and sets minimum standards for jurisdictions to adopt to ensure that law enforcement and the public know where sex offenders can be found. How long a sex offender remains on the registry depends on the seriousness of the crime. Today, every state, territory, D.C. and 147 Indian tribes (of 160 SORNA tribes) have public sex offender registry websites and the tribal list continues to grow.

You should be aware that other sex offender websites may claim to be the biggest or the best sex offender registry available. Some websites, after a short introductory period, begin to charge a fee for other information. The SMART Office believes that the more sex offender information available the better, and we are dedicated to assuring NSOPW is accurate and current. Some privately run websites may not have direct access to complete information or to all SORNA jurisdictions. Other websites may not provide a national base of information or they may not provide the most current information. For accurate, complete and free information about the location of registered sex offenders, go to NSOPW.gov.

For more information on the SMART Office or sex offender issues, including relevant research on sex offender management, visit the SMART Office website.

The SMART Office is part of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Date Published: May 24, 2018