Cell Phone App Keeps Trick Or Treaters Safe From Sex Offenders

Friday, October 28th 2011, 9:45 am
By: News 9

Dana Hertneky, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Want to keep your kids safe while they're trick or treating this Halloween? There's an app for that.

There are actually several apps for the iPhone and other smart phones that show where sex offenders live.

News 9 checked out an Android app called Life360 Offender Search. It uses GPS to find your location then points out sex offenders in the area.

We showed the app to Anthony Pego, a parent of two small children who didn't know there's a sex offender living just one block away from his home. He says he didn't know such technology existed, but would use it.

"Absolutely. That information being there is important. If it's available, why wouldn't I use it?"

Officer Jennifer Newell with the Norman Police Department is concerned such technology could provide a false sense of security and may be unreliable.

"One of the things that the police department doesn't want to do is create people who are paranoid," said Newell.  "I don't think it's 100% and I think what you need to do is go in groups, make sure there's a trusted adult and make sure kids understand that if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, to let you know."

Pego says he does all that but will also add the app.

"I just think it's important to know," said Pego. "And more importantly the offenders know that we know and I think that will give them a little bit more caution and that benefits everybody."

The app also has a panic button.  If your kids have it on their phone, they can press the button and the app will send you an alert.

The app News 9 used and most of the other ones are free. You can find them by searching "sex offender tracker."