Typically, sex offenders must register their address in order for law enforcement to track them. They are also required to inform their neighbors of their sex offender status. These rules, in addition to the strict guidelines on where sex offenders can live, are in place to keep the rest of us safe. However, in Maricopa County, Arizona, hundreds of registered sex offenders are going untracked.
When sex offenders have homes, law enforcement can easily check in on them. But if they are homeless—as many sex offenders are— law enforcement officers in Phoenix are allowing them to simply put down an intersection instead of s residential address. This is a problem for obvious reasons: a street corner is not a permanent address and people don’t tend to stay at one for long.
The Phoenix Police Department has a sex offenders tracking unit that supposedly regularly visits registered sex offenders in the area, according to retired Police Commander, Jeffery Hynes. The point was to make sure they would be at the address they registered. But, when Channel 12 news interviewed an anonymous sex offender, he revealed they had not been doing that at all. Of course, you can’t track someone who’s only known whereabouts is a random street corner. Homeless sex offenders are supposed to wear GPS tracking devices, according to the Adult Probation Department, but Channel 12 News was unable to find any of the sex offenders at their listed intersection to verify this.
Law enforcement is still encouraging people to check the sex offender registry to see if there are any living near you. But they can’t promise they’ll actually be there.