MT DOJ Launches Email Notification System for Offender Registry
Today, the Montana Department of Justice announced a new service that allows the public to be automatically notified by email whenever a sexual or violent offender moves into a zip code of interest to subscribers.
This new service is part of Montana’s Sexual or Violent Offender Registry (SVOR) website, which is maintained by the department’s Division of Criminal Investigation. The SVOR is an on-line, searchable, public database of offenders which tracks an average of 2,300 sexual offenders and 3,300 violent offenders at any given time.
“This new, free service makes it easier for members of the public to know when a sexual or violent offender moves into their neighborhood by providing them with the latest information,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “It’s the latest development in our ongoing efforts to improve the registry and help protect families against sexual and violent offenders.”
Registration for the SVOR email notification system is available by visiting www.dojmt.gov. Users can subscribe for one or multiple zip-code areas and select which types of offenders to follow. The system works on either desktop or mobile devices. Data updates are made by the SVOR team daily Monday – Friday, and email notifications are generated the next day (Tuesday – Saturday). Email notifications will contain an offender’s name, type, address, a link to his/her photo when available, and other details.
The SVOR email notification system is one of several key initiatives the Montana Department of Justice has undertaken to improve the registry and help keep communities safer. Under Attorney General Fox, registry improvements have included:
• Keeping track of out-of-state offenders who move into Montana by requiring them to provide a DNA sample to the State Crime Lab.
• Changing the law to allow district judges to designate tier levels to sex offenders who lack them. An estimated 250 offenders have already been assigned tier levels as a result.
• Securing permanent funding for two criminal investigators who focus solely on helping local law enforcement agencies track down non-compliant offenders.
• Closing a loophole in the law that had allowed some registered sexual and violent offenders to evade a conviction when they failed to register their true residence.
• Initiating compliance checks for non-compliant offenders. In 2013, the Department of Justice, in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, began conducting targeted compliance checks of non-compliant offenders in specific areas around the state. These operations have resulted in a large number of offenders being located and brought into compliance. The compliance checks are ongoing operations that will continue into the future.
• Redesigning the SVOR website last year to make it more accessible and helpful to the public. Now, photos of non-compliant registrant offenders (offenders with unknown whereabouts) are displayed. All offenders are also now mapped to their home address or their supervisory agency. In 2014, the SVOR website received over 226,000 visits and its mapping features were used over 600,000 times by the public to search for neighborhood offenders by entering their own street address.