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Keeping tabs on sex offenders

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Updated: 6/25/2013 8:06 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Police say they had just done a routine check at Donald Smith's house to make sure the registered sex offender was living at the address he had listed with law enforcement.  He was.  But hours after that check, Smith would find himself in police custody, charged with the kidnapping and killing of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle.

Action News asked Sheriff Rutherford about how JSO keeps tabs on sex offenders.  He told us sexual predators are checked every 30 days.  Sex offenders, less often, but still routinely.  And every time one moves within a mile of your home, you can be notified through the county's Offender Watch Program.

"And the beautiful thing about that," said Sheriff Rutherford, "is you can also put in your email address, and as soon as one registers with Duval County, boom, you've got it within 15-20 seconds."

Action News found out St. Johns County takes it a step further.  "Another thing that we do, and I know other counties do as well, is a code red alert.  That's a reverse 911.  We do that within a mile radius," said Sgt. Catherine Payne.

[Special coverage: Remembering Cherish]

We also asked Sheriff Rutherford about neighbors like Mary Gagliardi, who believed Smith tried to lure little kids.  She told us over the weekend, "He bought a little stuffed horse and put it right by the driver's dash.  And I said to my husband, 'he's doing the to attract kids, that's so obvious.'"

Action News also asked the sheriff about Smith's neighbors who claimed he was trying to lure little kids.  Sheriff Rutherford said he wasn't aware if any of that activity had been reported to police.  And he said officers look for those sort of things during sex offender address checks. 

JSO has set up a website where people can go to register for sex offender notifications.
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LeRoy - 6/26/2013 6:36 AM
0 Votes
THREE WEEKS AGO We reported a child sexual predator that served 10 YEARS and lied and said he is a vagrant living in the woods off beaver and ellis road (ON HIS FLYER) when he IS living with his girlfriend and her THREE YOUNG CHILDREN in a trailer park off 103rd. NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE!!! We pray for these THREE NEW POTENTIAL VICTIMS!!!!!

cdavidhess - 6/25/2013 10:26 PM
0 Votes
This case demonstrates the limits of registration laws. Florida has one of the strictest registration systems in the nation, but they did not prevent this crime. The sex offender registry cannot prevent most sex crimes. In NY State (and presumably other states as well), 96% of those arrested for sex crimes have no prior convictions and are thus not listed on any registry. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 93% of sex crimes against minors are committed by family members or acquaintances. The sex offender registry basically causes a false sense of security.

nativejax - 6/25/2013 7:10 PM
1 Vote
When are you going to get it that the ONLY WAY to 'keep tabs' on these slithering pos predators is too keep them in prison?
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