Number of local sex offenders doubled in five years
By Dwayne Bremer
Jul 15, 2014, 20:50
The number of registered sex offenders in Hancock County has doubled in the past five years, and Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam said Tuesday that residents should be aware of who may live near them and not be afraid to report suspected crimes.
In 2008, there were about 50 registered sex offenders in the county.
Today, that number is pushing 100.
Adam said there are several reasons for the increase in numbers.
"The biggest reason, I believe, is that we have had a lot of sex offenders move here from other areas," Adam said. "Another reason is that parents and family friends are more willing to report incidents than they have been in the past."
Additionally, the increase in internet-based sex crimes has greatly increased in recent years.
According to laws in most states, offenders convicted of sex crimes are required to register with the local sheriff's department upon release.
Adam said that is done so that law enforcement can keep track of the offenders and ensure they do not break any other requirements such as having contact with victims and living near schools or churches.
Sex offenders are listed by the state on the website http://state.sor.dps.ms.gov/.
Their crimes range from individuals having sex with a underage girlfriends in high school to capital rape, child molestation, and internet-based child crimes.
Some of the crimes on the list are not as heinous as others and the list even includes some offenders who are deceased, officials said.
"The biggest misconception is that every convicted sex offender is a pedophile," a former child-crime investigator said Monday. "There are many, many bad people out there, but every case is different. No matter what their crime, they still have to register."
Adam said residents should use the sex offender list as a tool to determine who may live near them.
He said if you have suspicion that the person is still involved in crimes of a sexual nature, then call central dispatch at 228-255-9191.