A.V. RECORDS MORE SEX OFFENDERS; BETTER IDENTIFICATION, NEW ARRIVALS CITED IN INCREASE.
Two years after Megan's Law created a public, computerized file identifying convicted rapists and child molesters, the number of sex offenders registered in the Antelope Valley has increased.
As of last week, the Antelope Valley had registered 513 former convicts as serious offenders and nine as more dangerous, high-risk offenders, compared to 434 serious offenders and 11 high-risk in June 1997.
Some of the increase is due to new arrivals, and some is due to the identification of offenders already in the Antelope Valley, records show.
``It's here to be used,'' Nancy Dopirak, a law-enforcement technician at the Palmdale sheriff's station said of the statewide database, which lets the public look up offenders by ZIP code or name. ``It's an excellent tool for the public to educate themselves.''
The statewide database was made available to comply with the federal law enacted after the death of 7-year-old Megan Kanka of New Jersey, who was molested and killed by a neighbor, a previously convicted sex offender.
Computers are available for use 24 hours a days, seven days a week at the Palmdale and Lancaster sheriff's stations.
When the database was first made available in 1997, 11 Antelope Valley men were listed as high-risk sex offenders. Of those, four men's classifications have been downgraded to serious, after officials decided they were less likely to commit new offenses. One man moved out of state and another to Kings County.
Four new high-risk sex offenders were added to the Antelope Valley list.
Two men who turn up on the database as high-risk sex offenders in the Antelope Valley are behind bars for crimes committed in 1990 and 1992. One is serving a 44-year sentence, the other 24 years.
Keeping track of the sex offenders and making sure they register is part of Dopirak's job.
Each sex offender classified as serious or high risk must register with a law-enforcement agency each time he moves or if he plans to visit an area for more than two weeks.
``They have to let me know they are here within five days after they arrive,'' Dopirak said. ``If they move, they have to give me an address before they leave.''
After a sex offender registers locally, Dopirak notifies other law enforcement agencies in areas where the registrant has stayed and forwards the new address to the California Department of Justice which maintains the database.
``Most stay in compliance,'' Dopirak said. ``But we always have those that don't.''
Palmdale detectives are planning to canvass registered sex offenders in the near future - visiting them at their addresses to make sure they reside where they say they are living.
``We're going to verify every single one of them,'' Dopirak said. ``If they are not in compliance we're going to bring them in.''
Lancaster station officials conducted similar visits in 1997 when the database was first introduced.
ANTELOPE VALLEY SEX OFFENDERS BY ZIP CODE
Community ZIP Code Serious High Risk
Lancaster 93523 3 0
Lancaster 93435 104 0
Llano 93544 1 1
Pearblossom 93553 7 0
Littlerock 92543 19 0
Lake LA 93591 10 1
Palmdale 93552 14 0
Palmdale 93350 139 1
Acton 93510 8 0
Lake Hughes 93532 5 0
Palmdale 93551 26 0
Lancaster 93536 54 5
Lancaster 93534 123 1
TOTAL 513 9
Source: Department of Justice
BOX: ANTELOPE VALLEY SEX OFFENDERS BY ZIP CODE (See text)