Senator Andrew Lanza today announced that the state’s Sex Offender Registry will now display multiple photographs of convicted sex offenders, in an effort to make offenders more recognizable to law enforcement personnel and the public.
Expanding New York’s Sex Offender Registry to include multiple photographs helps ensure that we are providing the most accurate and up-to-date information on offenders living in the state. This important expansion is designed to make offenders more recognizable and account for changes in appearance, which increases public awareness and makes the Registry an even better resource for law enforcement agencies to monitor their communities. These are necessary additions that will help keep our neighborhoods safe and better protect our children.
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) maintains the Registry and its online subdirectory, which is posted to the agency’s website: www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/nsor. Multiple photos of offenders will be posted to the Registry and subdirectory as they become available, with the ultimate goal of having multiple photos posted of every registered offender. Prior to this change, only one photo of an offender could be included.
There are currently 36,336 registered sex offenders in New York State, classified by risk level: Level 1, which is a low risk of re-offense; Level 2, medium risk of re-offense; and Level 3, high risk of re-offense.
An offender’s risk level dictates what information is available and how that information can be accessed by the public. By law, only information about medium and high-risk offenders can be posted to the online subdirectory. The public can search for an offender according to the individual’s last name, county or zip code.
Level 1 and Level 2 offenders must update their photographs every three years, while Level 3 offenders are required to update their photographs annually. Level 3 offenders and those offenders who have been designated sexual predators also must personally verify their addresses every 90 days with law enforcement; if an offender’s appearance has changed at that time, police may photograph the offender and submit the updated photo to the Registry.
To view samples of some of the sex offenders on the Registry with multiple photos, go to:
Offenders under Parole supervision must also be photographed if their appearance has changed, and Parole officers are required to submit those photos to the Registry.
By law, the state can only provide information about Level 1 offenders or those whose risk level has not yet been set by the courts through a toll-free number (1-800-262-3257); information about Level 2 and 3 offenders also is available via phone. Callers to the toll-free number must have an individual’s name and at least one other identifier – an exact address or date of birth, for example – to learn if that person is a registered sex offender in New York.
Home address information about Level 1 offenders is limited to zip code. Complete home and work addresses – street number and name, as well as municipality and zip code – are available for Level 2 and Level 3 offenders. The Registry also includes multiple home and work addresses if an offender has more than one job or residence, as well as information about conviction charge, sentence, supervision conditions if the offender is on Parole or Probation, and vehicle information.
The Registry is continuously updated, with staff typically processing any change of information the same day the changes are received. In 2012, the Sex Offender Registry staff processed more than 38,000 forms submitted by offenders notifying the Registry of changes to their address, employment, internet and motor vehicle information; 30,000 annual address verification forms; and more than 13,000 photographs.
Information about Level 2 and 3 offenders also can be accessed via the New York State Public Safety Facebook page: www.facebook.com/nyspublicsafety. New Yorkers can also sign up to receive alerts via e-mail, text, fax or telephone whenever Level 2 or 3 sex offenders move to or from a community of interest to them. Those alerts are made possible through the state’s NY-ALERT system; visit www.nyalert.gov and click on the “Sign up for NY-Alerts” link in the left menu to learn more and register.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training, collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state’s DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.