‘THE ENFORCER’: ROBOCOP OF SEX OFFENDER PURSUIT
On the west coast of Florida, in Pinellas County, county tax records and state licensing data are secret weapons for tracking sexual predators. A massive crime-tracking computer program there dubbed the Enforcer has made it possible for the sheriff's office to know in an instant whether a sexual offender is living too close to a home day-care center, or whether a sexual predator resides in a hurricane evacuation zone and might end up at a shelter where children roam freely. The system is so efficient in tracking sexual offenders, some [offenders] don't even want to stay in the county, said Lt. Tom Evans. The Enforcer is a crime-mapping program relying on all sorts of data from the county. Documents like tax records from the property appraiser's office, which show the specific legal boundaries of each piece of land in the county are integrated, for example, calls for service from the sheriff's office. A user with a few clicks of the mouse could see exactly where officers responded to calls for help and then zoom in to see the legal boundaries of the property and who is the owner of the land and the lots next door and down the block. Sexual offenders and predators on probation are ordered to live at least 1,000 feet from schools, day-care centers or home day-care programs, under Florida law. Sexual predators who have committed serious crimes such as capital sexual battery or sexual battery with violence, must notify law enforcement whenever they move, and people must be notified within one mile of where they live by police.