Since logging on to Wisconsin’s sex offender registry Web site, Corinne O’Neill of Horicon, Wi., no longer allows her 11-year-old son to walk to a neighborhood ice cream stand with friends. Since the state started posting sex offenders’ addresses on Dec. 1, O’Neill knows a sex offender lives near the stand, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She has printed out Web site pictures of registered sex offenders in her vicinity and talked with her son and two younger children about her concerns and what they can do to stay safe.
The Web site, offender.doc.state.wi.us/public, averages more than 15,000 visits a day, compared with about 2,800 a day before addresses were included. Other Web sites, such as mapsexoffenders.com, use the state data to map the sex offenders listed in proximity to the address a user enters. Department of Corrections Secretary Matthew Frank said people using other sites should still check the Wisconsin page to be sure the information is accurate. The state Web site contains information about almost 18,000 registered sex offenders. The site includes such details as registrants’ names, aliases, details of their convictions and photos. Advocates of community notification said adding addresses is a good start, and they are encouraging the department to make even more information available.