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On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2016 | Criminal Law

Under state and federal laws, certain criminal offenders-primarily sex offenders and persons convicted of violent offenses-must register as criminal offenders when they move into a community. Now, thanks to a “Registered Criminal Offender Risk Index,” you can find out just how many such individuals reside in your community. The data, collected from online state criminal registries across the country, is available on desktop or handheld devices. The developers of the index say, though, that it does not include anyone currently residing in any correctional facility.


The index, compiled by housing data provider RealtyTrac, includes the number of registered sex offenders living in a specific zip code, as well as the percentage of the population who are registered. The New Jersey communities with the highest percentage of registered criminal offenders are Seaside Heights and Camden (08103), both with just over one-half of one percent of the population on the list.

The requirement that certain sex offenders register with law enforcement officers whenever they move is a vestige of Megan’s Law, a federal statute enacted in 1994. The law came in the aftermath of the murder of a 7-year-old Mercer County, New Jersey girl who had been raped by a neighbor. The perpetrator had previously been convicted twice for sexual assault of pre-teen girls. Under the provisions of New Jersey’s version of Megan’s law, convicted offenders who fail to register can face severe penalties, including fines and incarceration.

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