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MEGAN'S LAW Residents praise new Pa. Web site



Published: Fri, February 4, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Expanded features allow a search for sexual offenders by name or address.

HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said the state's newly expanded Megan's Law Web site received 437,280 visits during its first week of operation.

The site can be reached through the State Police Web site at www.psp.state.pa.us.

"It's clear from these numbers that Pennsylvania residents want to know about sexual offenders in their communities so that they can take steps to ensure that their families are safe," Miller said Tuesday.

The expanded Web site, which went online Jan. 24, provides photographs and information to the public on all of the nearly 7,000 registered sexual offenders in Pennsylvania.

The Web site allows individuals to search for sexual offenders by county, city, ZIP code, name or alias, Miller said. The previous Megan's Law Web site carried information only relating to sexual offenders designated by the courts as sexually violent predators (SVPs). However, SVPs account for only about 60 of the nearly 7,000 registered sexual offenders in Pennsylvania.

Residents' views

Miller said State Police have received dozens of e-mailed comments from Pennsylvania residents praising the expanded Web site.

"Even though looking at these people and actually reading that they live in my neighborhood is very frightening. I feel safer being able to put a face to each and every one of them," a woman wrote. "It is nice to know that this information is available to the communities."

A father wrote: "I find this helpful when my kids come home with a new friend and want to stay or visit their new friend's home. This works as a secondary tool when I make that decision."

A mother of three wrote: "I just wanted to say thank you for the info you provide on Megan's Law. I have three young daughters who I cherish deeply, and to know who is out there is the safest way (well, a good one) to help me protect my girls."

The expansion of the Web site was made possible by the passage of Senate Bill 92, which amended Pennsylvania's Megan's Law and was signed by Gov. Ed Rendell in November 2004.

"We will continue to revise and upgrade the Megan's Law Web site to make it as user friendly as possible," Miller said. He noted that currently the site is best viewed with Internet Explorer.




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