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Why some neighborhoods aren’t on the sex offender registry

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — If you’re living in a newly built neighborhood in Tippecanoe County, you probably can’t see if there are any sex offenders living nearby. 

That’s because the mapping system is only updated once or twice a year. But that’s about to change.

Like any mother, Erin Walsh just wants her kids to be safe.

“I have three boys, and I let them play in the yard and stuff,” said Walsh. “So, yeah, I want to know who is around us.”

She’d like to check the state’s sex offender registry, but since her neighborhood is so new, it’s not listed yet.

“We’ve had a lot of new neighbors come into this area, so yeah, not having that on there is a big concern,” said Walsh. 

WLFI brought the issue to the person in charge of the 186 sex offenders in the county: Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Detective Jason Morgan. It’s a lot for one person to manage. He said the offenders are updated daily, but the maps are only changed once or twice a year.

“Since speaking with you, I’ve since gotten in contact with them and we are going to start doing a quarterly review of the maps just to make sure we have all of the schools and parks in the correct spots and any new neighborhoods that pop up,” said Morgan. 

Morgan said not a lot of people know that there are only certain types of sex offenders who are prohibited from living close to schools or parks.

“Ones that are classified as offenders against children or sexual violent predators will have that stipulation,” said Morgan. 

But those stipulations do not apply to those convicted more than 12 years ago. Since the law didn’t go into effect until 2006, those sex offenders can live wherever they want.

“Did not know that at all,” said Walsh. 

Since her neighborhood doesn’t show up on the registry, Walsh probably does not live close to an offender. Morgan said he would have noticed the address wasn’t in the system if a sex offender tried moving there. But it’s still important to get your home on the map. There’s a way to sign up for alerts if an offender moves close to you within a certain radius.

“That is good because then if my kids want to walk to school, I’ll know who they’re passing and yeah, that would be a big help,” said Walsh. 

Morgan said if you can’t find your neighborhood on the registry, you can call or email him at the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office.