Oklahoma City police launched their new OffenderWatch® website Wednesday morning.
It is linked to the Oklahoma City Police Department’s main website and can also be accessed on its Facebook page.
It allows the public to log on and look if any sex offenders or those convicted of violent crimes are living nearby.
Oklahoma City police said they have been working on this for the past two years, and have now teamed up with more than 5,000 law enforcement agencies across the country to provide this valuable information available at your fingertips.
With the click of a mouse and few keystrokes, the OffenderWatch® website can give you a picture and address of what offenders are living nearby, what their crime was, and when they were released from prison.
“When you know that there is a registered offender, either violent or sex offender, in your community then you can act on that,” Oklahoma City police Capt. Paco Balderrama said. “You're not probably going to allow your kids to go over there and play video games. And on the ones that are wanted, it will actually tell us whether there's a warrant or not.”
News 9 decided to do a check of how many offenders lived near the News 9 studios.
We discovered two living within a one mile radius.
William Kevin Williams, who served time for first degree rape and currently has a warrant out, and William Thorne, who was convicted of child sex crimes and was released from prison back in 2012.
His neighbors had no idea about his criminal past.
“I didn't know he was a sex offender,” said Ida Breath, who lives down the street. “He been there for a while and seemed to be a nice man.”
Breath said she has grandchildren and used to babysit kids too and wishes she would have known about Thorne's conviction sooner. Especially since he has been to her home.
“Every now and then he would bring me some food, so I just thought he was a nice looking man who helped out folks,” Breath said. “By looking at somebody you can't ever tell how they are.”
As part of the new service, members of the public may enter any address of interest to them and see a map listing of all offenders within a five mile radius.
Police told News 9 you can also register for email alerts that will let you know when an offender moves in within a five mile radius, and that information is updated in real time on the website.
Right now, there are more than 1,250 sex offenders and people convicted of violent crimes in Oklahoma City on the OffenderWatch® website.