I-Team Report: Sex offender sweep - WNEM TV 5

I-Team Report: Sex offender sweep

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

When you move to a new location or have children you may have looked up the sex offender registry to see if any offenders live near you.

But how can you be sure they are actually living where they say they are?

That’s the job of officers like Michigan State Police Trooper Bethany Craig.

Her full-time job is going door-to-door to make sure sex offenders are where they’re supposed to be.

Many sex offenders are on the registry for their whole life. That means their location has to be verified every time they move, for the rest of their lives.

While it’s the sex offender’s duty to report any changes, it’s Craig’s job to make sure they are actually where they say they are.

“They never know when we’re going to stop,” Craig said.

She said it’s the public’s right to know where the registered sex offenders are living. And if they’re non-compliant it’s a potential danger to everyone.

“If you’re going to move to Caro you can run a list to see where all the registered sex offenders are. If there’s a couple people that we don’t know where they’re at, that’s one you don’t know about,” Craig said.

TV5 rode along with Craig as she did a sweep around Caro.

She does resident checks all the time, sometimes even doing larger sweeps with multiple law enforcement departments.

In a March sweep, 49 out of 66 sex offenders were verified at their residence.

The rest were either not home, or not where they are supposed to be. That could mean they will face another felony.

“We cover Sanilac, Huron and Tuscola County. And the last time I ran the number of active registered sex offenders in the Caro post area it was slightly over 500," Craig said.

One stop was at a home to a tier three registered sex offender, which means he was charged with attempted criminal sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13.

He was right where he was supposed to be.

In fact, being a tier three offender, which is the highest level there is, means he must report his address to the state police four times a year.

“Most of the registered sex offenders we deal with are compliant. When you stop at the house, they are where they’re supposed to be and they come in and verify. Most of the time there is no issues," Craig said.

But if police find out the offender no longer lives at their reported location, they will track you down.

“Or you’ll get tips from like a neighbor and they’ll say he’s not living at this address," Craig said. 

At the end of the day, their victims and ordinary people have the right to know where these sex offenders are. If not, Craig said it won’t be long until they’re found.      

“Because I can tell my victims, 'listen, even if they’re not getting the time you think they should get, they’re going to be on the registry and they’re going to be monitored for that too.'  And it usually makes the victims feel a little better knowing they’re not just getting their time in jail. They also have to comply and they are going to be being watched," Craig said.

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