Sex offender laws important, but don’t replace parental responsibility | NevadaAppeal.com

Sex offender laws important, but don’t replace parental responsibility

It may be OK that Nevada isn’t on the cutting edge when it comes to every new trend in technology, but one place we don’t want to fall behind is the tracking and regulation of sex offenders.

That’s exactly what’s behind SB232, which would restrict people convicted of child sex crimes from living within 2,000 feet – just under a half-mile – from schools, school bus stops and day-care facilities.

State Sen. Dina Titus cautioned that Nevada could become a haven for sex offenders if our laws are less restrictive than other states, and that in itself should be incentive enough for it to become law.

But even if that happens, parents should not rest easy.

Most residents would be surprised how many Tier 2 and Tier 3 sex offenders live in our neighborhoods. A search of the state’s Sex Offender Registry under the zip code 89701 brings up a list of 31 convicted sex offenders. Tier 2 offenders are considered as posing a “probable risk” of reoffending, and Tier 3 offenders pose a “substantial risk.” Statewide, the Web site lists more than 6,000 offenders, including 157 considered Tier 3.

You can visit that Web site and do your own search at http://www.nvsexoffenders.gov. An even more eye-opening Web site is at http://www.familywatchdog.us, where you can also search by city or zip code. The difference is that the results appear on a map on your computer that show sex offenders sprinkled throughout the city, some of which are doubtlessly in or close to your neighborhood.

It’s important to know that the list isn’t comprehensive. Some sex offenders do not register and, even if all did, there are many sex offenders who are never captured or convicted.

It is for those reasons that the ultimate responsibility falls to parents. That applies not only to knowing where registered sex offenders are living, but making sure children are educated on how to protect themselves. A good place to do both is the state sex offender Web site, which includes a comprehensive list of safety tips.