New Iowa sex offender information available online - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Iowa sex offender information available online

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Laws recently changed in Iowa regarding where registered sex offenders can live; many now have more choices and freedom of where to live. Now, the state Division of Criminal Investigation has a new online tool to help you find out if one moves to your neighborhood.

The state started to modify the sex offender registry site last year, and now with new laws in place, there's actually more information available to help you find out about offenders.

A year ago, KWWL talked to home daycare provider Kim Fisch. She was worried about the state changing a law that required all sex offenders live more than 2,000 feet from her home business, or any other school or daycare.

Now, the law has changed. Offenders can move near her home, unless they've committed a severe sexual offense against a minor.

"I'd prefer them to not be that close, just because I have little ones. Even if it's not a crime against little ones, it could turn into crimes against little ones," Fisch said.

That's where the newly updated sex offender registry could help. You can create a map of your neighborhood and find nearby offenders' photos and information about their crimes. The new laws also require offenders to register their liscense plate number and email addresses and online user names.

"They can go in and they can put that in and find out if it comes back registered to a sex offender or not, so it would give them a little more comfort in knowing they do have the ability to check something out themselves if they want to," Dubuque County Sheriff Ken Runde said.

If you don't want to keep checking the site, now you can sign up to have an email sent to you if someone registers near you.

"Should be one more tool that makes them feel more confident and safer," Runde said.

"I'm going to pass it on to every other provider I know. I'll pass it on to everyone I know that may not be in the loop of the sex offender stuff," Fisch said.

Another change to laws, sex offenders have to be 300 feet from schools, daycares, school buses and libraries -- unless they have written permission. So offenders with any age victim can't get too close to Fisch's home or any other daycare or school.

Runde said Dubuque County law enforcement is committed to keeping track of sex offenders and urges anyone with problems or questions to call the Sheriff's Office or the local police.

The re-design of the site cost $77,000 and making the database cost $180,000. Both were funded by state or federal grant money.

Click here to link to the state's site.  Please note:  Some other sites charge a fee.  The state's Web site does not charge.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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