A Nevada lawmaker wants to upgrade a state sex offender registry that began posting names of sex offenders this week without listing their addresses.
"Our sense is that you have a right to know if your neighbor is a category 3 sex offender," said state Sen. Ray Rawson, R-Las Vegas, referring to convicts judged the most at-risk to repeat sex crimes.
"The whole idea is that by knowing, you can take steps to protect your family," he said.
The Nevada Sex Offender Registry has been operating for several weeks, but officially started Tuesday. It made Nevada the 34th state to establish a registry under Megan's Law, passed by Congress in 1996 and named for a 7-year-old New Jersey girl killed by a neighbor in 1994.
The Nevada site lists offenders by name, ZIP code, Social Security number and vehicle license plate number, providing aliases and conviction information including the ages of victims. It provides photos of some offenders.
But law enforcers and victims' advocates say it lacks a crucial element - offenders' addresses.
Nevada law currently forbids the state from listing addresses for all but the most dangerous of the 4,666 active registered sex offense cases in the state, said Daryl Riersgard, manager of the Nevada Criminal History Repository.
Riersgard, who set up the Web site, said the online registry was evolving and can be modified if the Legislature acts when it convenes next year.
The registry sifts data from local law-enforcement databases, and Riersgard said plans call for using $30,000 in remaining federal grant money to let law enforcers link with the FBI National Crime Information Center.
Rawson said legislators lacked the funds to make the NCIC link part of the first phase.
The Henderson-based Children's Advocacy Alliance put up $25,000 to help the state qualify for federal matching funds to establish the site.
The most serious offender category is Tier 3, while those convicted of lesser crimes are classified as Tier 2 or Tier 1.
Tier 2 offenders are distinguished from Tier 3 offenders by the completeness of the ZIP code.
Riersgard said he provided neighborhood-specific nine-digit ZIP codes for the most violent offenders, while a five-digit ZIP code is listed for Tier 2 offenders.
On the Net:
Nevada Sex Offender Registry: http://www.nvsexoffenders.gov