Sex offender registries are one of the first places prospective homeowners and renters check when they prepare to move to a new area. With thousands of children trick or treating this weekend, many parents may be reviewing these maps before planning routes.

There are several caveats to these maps provided by City-Data.com. The information is pulled from public records, including the New York State Division of Criminal Services, for tier two and three offenders, who law enforcement agencies have classified as representing a moderate or high risk. The agencies that collect this data attempt to make sure the information is accurate and complete. Nevertheless, this is not a guarantee that the list is full representation of the current location of sex offenders.

There are many schools of thought on the value of these maps and whether they are needed resource or are unnecessarily alarmist.

Ultimately, the decision to view or not view these maps is yours. If you do choose to review the maps, do so responsibly. Using the information to intimidate or harass the individuals on the sex offender registry or their family members may lead to criminal prosecution.

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