Online search won't display every sex offender in your neighborhood

Online search won't display every sex offender in your neighborhood

PORTLAND, Ore. – Stephanie Miller takes the safety of her three kids very seriously.

When she heard there was a sex offender living in her neighborhood, Miller went looking for more information.

“We wanted to make sure it wasn’t a rumor,” she said. “What I really wanted was to find out what he did.”

What Miller discovered, however, was that Oregonians who search for sex offenders in their neighborhoods are not getting the whole picture and walk away with a false sense of security.

Searching Oregon’s sex offender website showed “no offenders found” within a one-mile radius of Miller’s home. A call to the people who run that database for the state turned up a much different result.

“I thought we were looking for one person in the neighborhood and when it came back the list was three pages long,” Miller said. “I could not believe how many people, how many sex offenders were surrounding us, to be honest.”

Vi Beaty runs Oregon’s sex offender database and said most people are not aware of how little information the state provides online.

“They’re very surprised Oregon is so limited,” said Beaty. “Oregon posts less than five percent of our registered population.”

That five percent equals approximately 900 of Oregon’s 18,000 registered sex offenders who are on the state’s registry. Those 900 are classified as predatory or sexually violent – and are further deemed by the state as posing the highest risk of re-offending.

By comparison, Washington has about 30 percent of registered sex offenders posted on its website.

California posts 75 percent and Idaho posts 100 percent of all registered sex offenders on its website – even those with the lowest level of offenses.

Residents of Oregon and Washington have to call or e-mail the state and explain a safety concern in order to get the full list of sex offenders who live in their neighborhoods and the offenders’ addresses.

Miller wants Oregon lawmakers to add more names to the state’s sex offender database so families can be armed with better information about their neighbors.

“Obviously people have a right to a second chance and people can change and be reformed,” said Miller. “But that’s not going to be at the expense of my child.”