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Sex offender e-mail alert awaits guv’s signature

Concerned Queens parents and residents could soon receive e-mails from the state notifying them that a sex offender has moved into their neighborhood, state Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) said last week.

The state Assembly last week unanimously passed the sex offender e-mail alert legislation that was sponsored by Lancman. The state Senate’s version of the bill passed in May, and provided Gov. David Paterson signs the legislation, the state would begin to send out notifications that a sex offender had moved into an individual’s selected ZIP code. Anyone would be allowed to sign up for the e-mail program.

Lancman praised the bill, saying it makes it easier for parents and residents to access information about sex offenders, about 531 of whom live in Queens, according to the state’s sex offender registry database.

Currently, New Yorkers who want up-to-date information on registered sex offenders in their communities must make daily searches of the sex offender registry.

The legislation “gives parents the information they need, in real time, to keep their children safe,” Lancman said.

“New Yorkers are already able to get notification of traffic delays, storm warnings and other important information from government agencies through NY-Alert system,” Lancman said. “The cost to merge this information into NY-Alert and notify New York parents when sex offenders move into their neighborhood is negligible, and the benefit is self-evident.”

Lancman said it is not always easy for parents and residents to keep on top of sex offenders’ whereabouts since the information is changing constantly as new offenders are added or existing registrants update their information. The e-mail updates would allow individuals to keep tabs on a specific geographic area, such as where they live or where their children attend school.

“It would be criminal to deny New Yorkers the added convenience of better protecting our children from the kind of unsavory individuals who are, in many cases, our neighbors,” said state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), who sponsored the Senate’s version of the bill.

There are currently 11,428 level two, or moderate risk, and level three, or high risk, sex offenders living in the state. Queens has the second-lowest number of registered sex offenders, with 531 living in the borough. Brooklyn has 1,197 sex offenders, 928 live in the Bronx, 639 reside in Manhattan and 133 are in Staten Island.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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