Monday, October 12, 2009

This Week in Fear Nation

Halloween Fears Drive Sex Offender Software Sale

Thousands of American parents, worried that their children will be abused by pedophiles while trick-or-treating this Halloween, have downloaded software to identify the homes of sex offenders in their neighbourhoods.

The Offender Locator application uses a GPS system built into Apple iPhones to pinpoint the user's location, and then provides a map of sex offenders in the area. Leslie Gharghetta, a mother of two from Woodridge, New Jersey, uses it to monitor her neighbourhood. "I try and keep an eye on my kids. With Halloween, I am able to see if anybody on the list is located near me," she said.

The software has been downloaded more than a million times since becoming available in June. Tapping any location marked brings up a photograph of the offender, as well as their address, date of birth and convictions. "There is one offender listed two streets away from me," said MrsGharghetta, 31, whose husband is a police officer.

"This tool helps you understand what is going on in your neighbourhood, who's coming or going. People should be alert and know what is going on."

Now I feel safe!

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