Posted at: 10/31/2012 10:45 PM
Updated at: 11/02/2012 11:12 AM
By: Dietrich Nissen
(ABC 6 News) -- A new smartphone application called Sex Offender Search gives you access to the National Sex Offender Registry in the palm of your hand.
It's especially useful on nights like Halloween when children are eagerly seeking sweets from strangers. Parents say the application would help ease their door-knocking worries.
"I think it's a great idea, everybody seems to be using apps and their smart phones for things like this. It's a great way to keep people informed," says mom, Melanie Weis.
"[We’d like to do] whatever we can do to keep the children safer," says soon-to-be-dad, Nate Carlson. The Sex Offender Search application was designed by Family Safety Production. It’s free to download on either iPhones or Androids.
Once you register and activate an account, the application allows you to spot all level 3 sex offenders in your neighborhood. It shows not only where they live, what they look like, but also, what they were charged with. On top of that, you can see nearby police and fire stations, as well as hospitals.
"In this society today, you never know who's going to be put- trying tricks by putting pins or needles into candy or doing something else," says Rochester Police Crime Prevention specialist, Darrel Hildebrant.
He also says Halloween is when child sex offenders are especially active and parents shouldn't let their guard down.
"It's a season they can entice the kids to come into the house. They can give the kids extra treats or something like this, and the kids are very vulnerable, because they're out begging for candy," says Hildebrant.
But whether it’s Halloween or any other day of the year, this app provides a quick way to know who's nearby.
"[It’s] a good way to know where to go and where not to go definitely," says Weis.
If you don't have a smartphone to download the app, you can go online and access the National Sex Offender Registry for free.