SEX-OFFENDER E-MAIL ALERT UPGRADED
A groundbreaking new e-mail system that will provide people with automatic alerts of sexual predators who move into neighborhoods should be up and running on Long Island by March 24. Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law and the Crime Victims Center, said the system, funded with a $593,000 federal grant announced yesterday, should be in operation statewide in April and nationally by May 1. She said she expects hundreds of thousands of parents nationwide to sign up to get alerts. Sex offenders are getting better at what they do, and we are getting better at what we do, Ahearn said at a news conference with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Reps. Timothy Bishop (D-Southampton), Peter King (R-Seaford) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola). The new system will allow people to sign up by computer and target the alerts they want to receive by zip code. Users will be asked to give their name, address and telephone numbers, but Ahearn said the information will be kept confidential; the data is only necessary, she said, so users can be contacted if there is a problem with an e-mail address. The system will get its national data from sex offender registries in all 50 states, and will include pictures and criminal history of offenders, Ahearn said.