California has lost track of nearly half its sex offenders. That€™s despite a state law requiring rapists and child molesters to register each year.
Thirty-nine percent of the 70,000 ex-cons currently required to register may be “out of compliance” with the law. Another 5,700 offenders – in the state Justice Department€™s words – “cannot be accurately categorized.” The department says many of those never registered as required after leaving prison.
That brings California€™s number of missing predators to 33,000.
Megan€™s law databases are designed to help keep track of predators. But in California, no one audits the database for accuracy. The law puts the responsibility on the offender.
That angers Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents For Megan€™s Law. She says people have a misplaced faith in the database.
Attorney General Bill Lockyer says it´s tough to persuade overburdened police departments to spend money on crime prevention.
Some key numbers from California€™s Megan€™s Law database:
Total sex offenders who registered at least once: 108,247
Offenders who are dead, incarcerated or out of state: 31,897
Offenders who “cannot be accurately categorized:” 5,719
Offenders currently required to register: 70,631
Offenders who registered in 2002: 43,054
Offenders who failed to register in 2002: 27,577
Offenders required to register but who never did: Unknown.