145 registered sex offenders live in Niles; info available onlinePublished 12:21am Thursday, June 23, 2011
By KATE STONE
Niles Daily Star
There are approximately 553 registered sex offenders who reported living in Berrien County this year, and that number continues to fluctuate. Of the offenders in Berrien County, 145 of them are currently living in Niles.
When an offender moves to a new home, they are required to notify law enforcement within 10 days. Offenders must report any changes in address, employment, enrollment status, Internet service providers along with user names and e-mail accounts and purchase of a motor vehicle.
Offenders must annually report where they live. If an offender is classified in tier 1, he or she only has to register once at the beginning of each year. Offenders classified in tier 2 must report twice a year, in January and July. Tier 3 offenders are required to report four times a year, in January, April, July and October.
“There are no rules for notifying current residents of a neighborhood when a sex offender moves in or when a current resident becomes an offender,” said Chief Ric Huff of the Niles Police Department. “The only residential rule for sex offenders is that they cannot live within 1,000 feet of a school.”
Information about the offenders can be found online on a public website, www.mipsor.state.mi.us. This website includes the offender’s legal name, aliases, summary of convictions, current address, registration status, type classification, physical description and registration number. Visitors may also sign up to receive e-mail notifications when a convicted sex offender moves into a new neighborhood.
Victim information is not available through the website. The offender’s Social Security number, arrests not resulting in conviction, travel and immigration documents, instant message and e-mail addresses and license numbers are also unavailable to the public.
Failure to follow the registration obligations is a felony offense and can be punishable as a Class E felony, while second convictions may be punished as a Class D felony.
Not all sex offenders are pedophiles or sexually violent offenders. In some cases, the offender was in a relationship with the underage victim and they were only a few years apart in age. Offenders on the registry have been convicted of crimes including: kidnapping with intent of sexual acts; sexual battery; rape; drugging with intent of sexual acts; prostitution; sodomy, child pornography; and many other related offenses.
If there is an error on the Sex Offender Registry website or an offender has moved and has not changed addresses, submit a tip to the website and contact local law enforcement.
Victims of sexual assault or abuse are highly encouraged to seek help and report the crime to the local law enforcement agency.
For more information about sex offender requirements, the registry or offenders in a specific area, visit www.mipsor.state.mi.us.