Does this Sex Offenders Map offend you? It offends me on several human, private and revenge levels. By posting a link to an offensive map have I just offended myself?

8 Comments

  1. I immediately clicked on the link, entered my address, and breathed a sigh of relief that there weren’t any offenders living in my immediate area.
    I did notice that most of the offenders live on the “wrong side” of town. It reinforces some stereotypes of thought. Maybe they live there because they can’t get decent jobs because of their convictions. Housing might be cheaper there. Or, could it be the way things work in our city? If you are an offender, do you get shifted to the “wrong side of the tracks?” Do the cops “force” offenders out of better neighborhoods? Is it “suggested” that they stay away from the richer areas?
    The scary thing is that many of the offenders look like regular guys. (There aren’t any women on the list for my area). You probably wouldn’t know that they were convicted if they were at the convenience or grocery store. They look like a guy who might come to your house to work on your roof or a car salesman.
    That’s probably the scariest thing about the site.
    It makes me realize that bad people don’t always look bad.

  2. Hi Chris!
    I have three Sex Offenders in area code 07306. They’re kind of pocked across the entirety of Jersey City.
    Should we have a national “Convicted Murderers” web map?
    Or a national “Convicted Wife Beaters” web map?
    My concern is that Sex Offenders web map goes beyond community right to know and dangerously delves into the function of becoming a national database for a vigilante’s roadmap for revenge.
    As long as the police know where the Sex Offenders live, is it important we know one lives two blocks away? Does knowing protect our families or does knowing only force feelings of hatred and insecurity at the outed offender who may have already served a sentence?
    I think that map is a virtual and everlasting return to Scarlet Lettering.

  3. I hope you don’t mind me adding another side to this post. I think people making false acusations on sexual abuse (especially in custody cases) should get arrested for that. It’s hard enough going after these crimes when they’re real but throw in so many false acusations confuses everything. It’s far too serious of an acusation to be made lightly.

  4. The technology is in place to set up a statewide or national database of everything about everyone. Our state’s court records are online in many counties and the state Supreme Court is hoping to have every county online sometime in the near future.
    Our state makes it easy to sort out different cases. All criminal cases can be sorted by grade because of the state’s cause number system. The same is true for civil cases, as well. Need to know everyone who was brought to court for an A felony, sued for a collection case or mortgage foreclosure, or filed for divorce or an estate? The cause number system lets you sort by those cases and a bunch more.
    Once they are in the state’s Department of Corrections system, one can look up offender information (and in some states get a picture of a convicted criminal).
    I’m surprised that someone hasn’t taken the raw information available online from our state’s court records and made a map of felons and misdemeanants. It would be easy enough to do. Maybe there are too many people who have been through the system and it would cause a backlash.
    The only people who can hide for the time being are those who have their cases brought before the city courts. However, a quick trip to the clerk’s office and a name will get any information they might have. It’s just not as convenient. I’m sure the city courts will be folded into the state’s system one of these days in exchange for accepting equipment or money from the state.
    The state did pass a law recently to try to protect confidential information, such as social security numbers that are collected in divorce cases.
    Speaking of a National Terrorist Database. There is such a creature. If you are ever denied boarding on an airplane, that is a sure sign that you are on the list. It is only a matter of time before people start getting their names put on the list for political reasons.

  5. Chris —
    Thank you for sharing those fascinating and ultimately chilling facts!
    Our health services are also pushed away from paper — all in the name of being able to treat you anywhere at any time so your medical history can be pulled up by nurses, doctors and hospitals across the country — I think that medical database will ultimately be used to deny coverage and services to those coded as “too risky” or “too sick” to recover in a pale aping of the Canadian health system but without the wholecloth national healthcare coverage for everyone.
    Will mandatory DNA testing be far behind in order to get health coverage and car and house and life insurance? Genetic markers in DNA will frame us in factors of risk, longevity, brain capacity and motor and neural responses. I can imagine the first line of a denial of coverage letter from an insurance company:

    If your fast twitch muscle response had been 0.234 of a second faster, we would have been happy to provide your car insurance…

    We live in scary times but 20 years from now will truly be frightening!