Dear Tempe Police Employees,
Over the past many months, we have been in the process of building a new program to further enhance safety in our community. ‘Offender Watch’ includes components specific to law enforcement use, as well as interactive components available to community members at tempe.gov/police. The program is targeted to go live on our website in the near future. A hard launch is planned for Halloween week, at which time we will be making notifications to our community, City Council and the media.
A huge “thank you” to the Investigations Bureau, Police Technical Services and our Strategic Planning, Analysis and Research Center (SPARC). The Sex Crimes Unit Detectives and supervisory chain of command are consummate law enforcement professionals, and implacable in their determination to protect victims, prevent sex crimes, pursue suspects, and prosecute sex offenders. Offender Watch is yet another prime example of the Tempe Police employee commitment to continuous improvement in preventing and fighting crime.
We have streamlined the sex offender registration process, increased efficiencies and enhanced our response capabilities. Literally every moment counts during a child abduction or attempted luring, and makes this increased capability especially critical. Detectives, Crime Analysts, Communications Staff and Police Officers patrolling our streets will have real-time access to more investigative information than ever before, including case notes, photos of offenders and more.
It is important to assure that individuals subject to the sex offender registration protocols are in legal compliance, and equally important to emphasize that we as a police agency protect the rights of everyone in our community.
I have continually emphasized the importance of strategic innovation, technology, and partnerships to fight crime. This program greatly enhances our ability to search locally, statewide, and nationwide for offender information, and is already assisting us in investigations that cross borders. OffenderWatch is in use by more than 1,000 agencies nationwide; local agencies currently include MCSO, Mesa PD, Glendale PD, and Avondale PD, with other metro area agencies reviewing the program currently.
In the near future, community members will be able to sign up on our TPD website for alerts if a sex offender moves into their neighborhood. We have created a distribution email list which notifies key personnel from our city, schools, day cares, and other designated recipients that a sex offender has moved into one of our neighborhoods.
Limited information on Level 2 and Level 3 (legally reportable) offenders will be provided, as is currently available on the DPS website. OffenderWatch has the added advantage of being specific to Tempe, as uploaded by our detectives. The site will also include helpful tips and information for community safety and the user acessibility is similar to accessing neighborhood crime statistics on RAIDSonline.com.
Why is sex offender notification so important? As will be provided on our OffenderWatch website, statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice show that:
- Appx 45% of sexual assault victims are under 12 years old
- Appx 75% of victims know their attacker
- Appx 80% of all addresses have at least one offender within 1 mile
- Over half of rape/sexual assault incidents occur within a mile of the victim’s home
- Sex offenders cross socio-economic boundaries, living in both affluent and less affluent neighborhoods
I’m very proud of the police employees who worked so hard to build and implement the OffenderWatch program. Your hard work and professionalism are truly valued and appreciated. Without a doubt, your efforts and teamwork have a direct, immediate and long-term impact on the safety of our Tempe community.
Thank you for all you do. Stay safe!