COVINGTON, La. – OffenderWatch, the largest sex offender registry system in the United States, announced this week along with St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne plans to release a new software technology to keep children and families safe: Safe Virtual Neighborhood (patent pending). Announced during the Crimes Against Children Conference in Dallas, Safe Virtual Neighborhood (SVN) will use OffenderWatch’s current database of registered sex offenders to track their online behavior, such as digital texts, emails, social media and online gaming, and notify parents if the offender communicates with their child. Covington-based OffenderWatch partnered with the office of Sheriff Champagne to build out the project, which is slated for completion by the end of the year.
In conjunction with the SVN announcement, OffenderWatch founder and CEO Lou Luzynski awarded Sheriff Champagne the “OffenderWatch Innovation Award” during the conference to honor his decades of service and commitment to keeping communities safe. The award is bestowed annually to a law enforcement leader who finds innovative ways to go above and beyond their statutory requirements to provide the highest levels of public safety possible. Champagne has served as Sheriff of St. Charles Parish since 1995. He has served the past year as president of the National Sheriff’s Association and was named “Louisiana Sheriff of the Year” by the Louisiana Crime Victim’s Coalition in 2003.
“Sheriff Champagne is a pioneering leader who adopts new strategies and technologies that improve his community’s safety and way of life,” said Mike Cormaci, president and co-founder of OffenderWatch. “He saw the need to protect children online, and we’ve worked together to find a solution that can save families nationwide from predatory threats. Children’s neighborhoods are no longer geographic boundaries surrounding their house. They now live in a vastly larger virtual neighborhood made possible by the Internet. As predators use technology as another way to prey on our children, we’ve had to expand our thinking to how we can safeguard them in their virtual neighborhood.”
SVN is a software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based platform that can be integrated into local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. OffenderWatch plans to release their SVN application later this year to be used on open platforms allowing access to children’s data. Platforms such as Android and X-Box allow developers to build software that can track registered sex offenders’ engagement on these platforms. Other platforms such is Apple, Nintendo and Snapchat, do not. OffenderWatch is seeking to work with these other platforms, as well as social media and tech companies, to provide a comprehensive safeguard against predator violations.
OffenderWatch’s Safe Virtual Neighborhood will allow parents to enroll their children’s phones, email and gaming devices into the system to receive a notification provided by law enforcement if a registered offender texts, emails or plays games with their children.
Once completed, SVN will be available for law enforcement agencies to adopt as part of their procedure regarding sex offender monitoring and community notification.
There are more than 800,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. Most states have a different system for tracking these offenders, making it difficult for agencies to keep records when the offenders cross state lines. The OffenderWatch Network is the largest sex offender registry system in the U.S., working with more than 3,400 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in 36 states. Founded in 2000 in Covington, La. under the Watch Systems company, OffenderWatch has expanded to include data on registered sex offenders from sheriffs’ offices, police departments, Attorney Generals’ offices, U.S. Marshal judicial districts, U.S. attorneys, federal and state probation and parole agents, department of corrections, Indian tribes, and more. The network delivers greater efficiency with technology, policy and procedure regarding sex offender monitoring and community notification. Learn more at OffenderWatch.com.