New law further limits where sex offenders can live

By: Jonathan Martin
By: Jonathan Martin

Richmond County investigators are busy tracking sex offenders and making sure they register.

A new law going into effect July 1 will narrow the places sex offenders can live.

But right now it's creating more work for the sheriff's office.

Soon Georgia will have some of the toughest sex offender laws in the country.

And as we learned today, the laws will mean most of the offenders in our area will have to find a new place to live.

It's Inv. Ron Sylvester's job to keep track of all 209 of Richmond County's sex offenders.

"It can be difficult at times," he says.

Difficult, he says, when sex offenders don't register themselves, leaving authorities unsure of their whereabouts.

"We probably find at least one a month that does not comply," Inv. Sylvester says.

And a new law taking effect in July is keeping Richmond County investigators busy.

Currently, offenders cannot live or loiter within 1000 feet of a school, daycare, or playground.

But the new law adds to that list.

"The new law as of July 1 is also going to include bus stops, public transit stops, and churches," says Sylvester.

That means the department has to redraw the map for offenders, finding and adding every church and every bus stop in Richmond County to the map.

"If they are within 1000 feet, they will be required to move."

He anticipates 75 percent of the county's sex offenders having to move come July 1, because their current locations will violate the new law.

Inv. Sylvester says some sex offenders won't give their real address, won't register, or may be slow to move. That's when investigators step in and they often depend on your help.

"The public has been coming forward and helping us locate the individuals and take them into custody and in jail," he says.

Investigators say they are still working hard on drawing the map of where sex offenders cannot live. Those currently in violation will be notified by mail within the next few weeks, and they'll have to move by July 1.

Also under the new law, sex offenders can no longer give post office boxes or use "homeless" as an address when they register.

Click here to read the full text of the law.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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