Officers make sure registered sex offenders are at home

JOHNSTON COUNTY (WTVD) -- Registered sex offenders are supposed to be "home for the holidays," and law officers across eastern North Carolina took steps to make sure that's the case.

With help from U.S. marshals, sheriff's departments checked on registered offenders at their homes to verify they were living at the addresses listed on the state's registry.

In Johnston County, law officers visited more than 200 offenders earlier this week.

"We actually did 209 actual home visits to make sure they are where they say they're living," Johnston County sheriff Steve Bizzell said. "We want to make sure they are home for the holidays. If we need them, we want to know where to go to find them."

It's critical for the accuracy of the state's sex offender registry that offenders notify authorities promptly when the addresses change. Residents can check the registry to see information for sex offenders in their neighborhoods and surrounding areas.

Registered sex offenders are required to notify the sheriff within three days of a move. Of the 209 people visited, only 10 had not notified the sheriff of their change of address, Bizzell said.

"Of the 10, 10 warrants for arrest were obtained," Bizzell said at a news conference Friday in the wake of "Operation Home for the Holidays."

"Of those, seven have been arrested and brought to jail," Bizzell said.

The compliance rate in Johnston County is good, according to the sheriff, who added that offenders are now on notice that they are being checked on.

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