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Badge & Bar: Sex offender registrations slightly down, say Hall authorities

POSTED: December 26, 2013 12:20 a.m.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office reported Dec. 18 that the number of registered sex offenders in Hall County dropped to less than 300 for 2013.

Lt. Stephanie Gilbert, who is in charge of the Hall County Sex Offender Registry Unit, said the number of registered offenders in the county had been as high as 308 at the beginning of the year.

Gilbert noted her unit and the sheriff’s office have worked with the Georgia Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole Office, along with local and federal law enforcement agencies, to ensure offenders comply with all registry requirements.

According to Georgia code, a sexual offender is any individual who has been convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor or of any dangerous sexual offense.

A sexual offender must register in person with the sheriff of the county in which the sexual offender resides within 72 hours after the sexual offender’s release from prison or placement on parole, supervised release, probation, or entry into the state.

During 2013, the sheriff’s office investigated about 30 violations of sex offender registry laws that were turned over to the Hall County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

The violations ranged from offenders who did not comply with their annual registration requirements to offenders who failed to notify the sheriff’s office of changes in their registered addresses, sleeping locations and employment.

Sheriff’s office has post-Christmas tips to help prevent property crime

Fancy presents are fun to enjoy — but don’t let an opportunistic criminal know about them, law enforcement officials warn.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Mark Mitchell advises residents to dispose of boxes and containers discreetly to prevent a crime of opportunity.

“It’s important because if you put out an empty container — an original container of a valuable item — you’re basically just advertising to the criminal what you have inside the home that may be of interest,” Mitchell said.

“What I highly recommend they do is ... don’t expose it.”

He suggested defacing the container — cutting the box open and turning it inside out — or putting it inside a trash bin.

“That doesn’t mean they don’t want to go through and start snooping, but it takes away the easy first glance — that easiness with looking out and seeing, say, a flat-screen TV box or computer,” he said.

While he didn’t have statistics handy, Mitchell said to pair common sense on property crime prevention with the new possessions that Christmas giving brings.

The Hall County Community Service unit offers other tips at its website, hallcounty.org/sheriff, as does the Gainesville Police Department at gainesville.org/police-department.

Emma Witman covers public safety issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:

• ewitman@gainesvilletimes.com
• facebook.com/timesemmawitman
• @EmmaWTimes


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