NewsLocal News

Actions

Wakulla County launches new app to track sex offenders

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 15:07:42-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Wakulla County Sheriff's Office announced a new, free app to monitor sexual offenders/predators in Wakulla County.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Jared F. Miller announced the release of the app from Offender Watch®, which allows citizens to search for sexual offenders/predators, locate family members, and get alerts if a Sexual Offender/Predator moves into their neighborhood.

As of January 1, 2021, there were 107 registered Sexual Offenders/Predators residing in Wakulla County, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The app also has a feature for annual family monitoring subscription called “Protect Plus” for $9.99 a year.

With the Protect Plus subscription, the app will alert parents if a registered sexual offender/predator contacts their child by email, text message, or telephone call, and will also alert parents if their child lingers near the residence of a registered sexual offender/predator for a prolonged period.

How Offender Watch Safe Virtual Neighborhood app Works:

  • Parents who sign up for Safe Virtual Neighborhood (SVN) will download the app on their smartphone and their child’s smartphone.
  • For the free version, citizens can view the location of their children and the location of registered sex offenders in their neighborhood or around the county.
  • You will also receive an alert from the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office if a sex offender moves into your neighborhood.
  • Parents can choose to upgrade to the “Protect Plus” paid subscription of Offender Watch Safe Virtual Neighborhood if they so choose.
  • The upgraded version monitors the child’s Snapchat activity, texts, emails, location, and phone calls in the background, without storing the child’s messages or interfering with its use. The subscription version has a yearly cost of $9.99 for an entire family.

With the Protect Plus version of the app, parents will also receive an alert if a registered sex offender contacts their child through Snapchat, email, text, or phone calls. The app also monitors the child’s location and sends an alert if the device is near a sex offender’s home for a prolonged period.

You can go to www.wcso.org, click on the Sex Offender Tab and follow the Offender Watch link, or click here for more information and to download the app.

Sheriff Jared F. Miller is pleased to announce the release of a free app from Offender Watch®, which provides citizens...

Posted by Wakulla County Sheriff's Office Sheriff Jared Miller on Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Members of WCSOs Criminal Investigations Division are responsible for registering sexual offenders/predators, making sure unannounced address verifications are conducted, as well as making notification to the community of the presence of sexual offenders/predators, as required by Florida law.

When registering sexual offenders/predators, a member of the Criminal Investigations Division will input information into the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Sex Offender Predators System, as well as the Offender Watch® database.

Because Criminal Investigations Division members enter Sexual Offender/Predator information into the Offender Watch® database as well as the state database, and are diligent in capturing registration data, the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office can now offer citizens this app to further protect their families from sexual offenders/predators.