INVESTIGATES: Homeless sex offenders become growing Florida problem

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Residents listed on the sex offender registry in Florida must live in certain areas, but they are not required to have a permanent address.

In one case, a predator in St. Johns County was listed as living in the woods behind a Winn Dixie. The individual has since moved, according to the Sheriff’s Office post.

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Action News Jax dug through the registry to find at least six St. Johns offenders on the registry, including two predators, who are listed as transient.

“My concern would be more for children you know because they’re outside,” Denise Slavin, A St. Johns County resident, said.

Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson said it’s becoming a growing problem and is difficult for law enforcement to track.

“We find them living under bridges; on boats. We find them in the community away from children,” he said. “But those individuals specifically are very hard to track.”

In a statement, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said, “All offenders, including transient, are monitored primarily through the use of Offender Watch as well as the FDLE portal. Quarterly address verifications are completed on all monitored predators/offenders, and this data is monitored and updated in the Offender Watch system.”

A representative went on to say that the only time notification is required is when an individual is classified as a ‘predator’.

“This notification is made to the affected nearby residents by our registration office, as well as publication on the SJSO social media pages.”

Neighbors with questions are encouraged to contact Sexual Predator/Offender Tracking (SPOT) detectives at SOSPOT@sjso.org.

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The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said that all transient offenders are required to register the same way as an individual with a permanent address.

However, the only difference is these individuals must also check-in with the sheriff’s office in-person every 30 days.