New search features help parents track sex offenders - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

New search features help parents track sex offenders

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(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)
(Toledo News Now) -

A new effort in Ohio is aimed at keeping people informed and children safe from registered sex offenders.

Sometimes knowing where a sex offender lives is not enough. A new part of Ohio's electronic sex offender database will allow people to search unfamiliar phone numbers, email addresses, screen names and even video game handles to see if the person on the other end is a registered sex offender.

Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn says the new feature can be a huge benefit to parents.

"It gives them a little more peace of mind that if their child is getting an email and they don't know who it is, they can find out," the sheriff said.

If it turns out that person is a registered sex offender, Sheriff Wasylyshyn encourages you to report them.

"What we're going to find out is: Did they violate any laws or their probation, their rules that they're living under as a registered sex offender?" he explained.

He says parents should always be cautious when someone is communicating with their child, whether the person is a sex offender or not.

"When there's someone communicating with your child, you need to know who it is," he said. "It may not be a registered sex offender because maybe they haven't been caught doing whatever it is they're doing."

Ohio is one of only eight states that offers this new sex offender reverse lookup feature.

If you want to stay informed, sign up online through the local sheriff's office for email notifications when a sex offender moves to your neighborhood.

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