Offender Locator tells you if past offender lives nearby

Aug 31, 2009
Tech

I have mixed feelings about Offender Locator Lite. On the one hand, it provides exactly what you’d expect: a list of registered sexual offenders near your location. However, there are reports of inaccuracies and incomplete information in the delivered information. Offender Locator has three ways to let you know if an offender lives nearby: It can […]

I have mixed feelings about Offender Locator Lite. On the one hand, it provides exactly what you’d expect: a list of registered sexual offenders near your location. However, there are reports of inaccuracies and incomplete information in the delivered information.

Offender Locator has three ways to let you know if an offender lives nearby: It can use GPS to detect your current location, you can enter an address from your iPhone address book or you can manually enter a street address. Once selected, the app displays a list of offenders sorted by distance from your location. The Lite version limits the list to 10 names.

From there you can click on a name and Offender Locator will display an image of the subject, street address, date of birth, race, height and weight, hair and eye color, and a short sentence describing the type of sexual offense. There is a mapping option, but it is lacking, as you can’t drag the map around or touch a pin on the map to get more details.

Now on to the qualms. Many user reviewers on iTunes report that the list is inaccurate and/or incomplete. It’s hard to ascertain how true these claims are, but a quick search of my state’s registered offender database  turned up a lot more names than Offender Locator listed. There is also not much detail offered on the type of sexual offense committed, which may unfairly lump all the offenders into the worst imagined category in a user’s mind.

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Finally, the paid version of this app doesn’t allow any offender information from the state of California to be shown (the company suggests you use the free version for this data), implying that states may soon be cracking down on app developers that seek to profit from free data provided by the individual states.

In any case, users of this app will quickly find that the bogeyman (or woman) is all around. What users choose to do with that knowledge may be the more interesting question.

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Mark Smithivas

Mark Smithivas is an independent wireless and mobile analyst, gadget enthusiast and proud parent of two rugrats. He'd rather text you than call, and is still on the lookout for the perfect drive-thru app.

    Offender Locator tells you if past offender lives nearby

    Aug 28, 2009
    Tech

    I have mixed feelings about Offender Locator Lite. On the one hand, it provides exactly what you’d expect: a list of registered sexual offenders near your location. However, there are reports of inaccuracies and incomplete information in the delivered information. Offender Locator has three ways to let you know if an offender lives nearby: It can […]

    I have mixed feelings about Offender Locator Lite. On the one hand, it provides exactly what you’d expect: a list of registered sexual offenders near your location. However, there are reports of inaccuracies and incomplete information in the delivered information.

    Offender Locator has three ways to let you know if an offender lives nearby: It can use GPS to detect your current location, you can enter an address from your iPhone address book or you can manually enter a street address. Once selected, the app displays a list of offenders sorted by distance from your location. The Lite version limits the list to 10 names.

    From there you can click on a name and Offender Locator will display an image of the subject, street address, date of birth, race, height and weight, hair and eye color, and a short sentence describing the type of sexual offense. There is a mapping option, but it is lacking, as you can’t drag the map around or touch a pin on the map to get more details.

    Now on to the qualms. Many user reviewers on iTunes report that the list is inaccurate and/or incomplete. It’s hard to ascertain how true these claims are, but a quick search of my state’s registered offender database  turned up a lot more names than Offender Locator listed. There is also not much detail offered on the type of sexual offense committed, which may unfairly lump all the offenders into the worst imagined category in a user’s mind.

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    Finally, the paid version of this app doesn’t allow any offender information from the state of California to be shown (the company suggests you use the free version for this data), implying that states may soon be cracking down on app developers that seek to profit from free data provided by the individual states.

    In any case, users of this app will quickly find that the bogeyman (or woman) is all around. What users choose to do with that knowledge may be the more interesting question.

    Search for more

    Mark Smithivas

    Mark Smithivas is an independent wireless and mobile analyst, gadget enthusiast and proud parent of two rugrats. He'd rather text you than call, and is still on the lookout for the perfect drive-thru app.

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