How well are authorities keeping tabs on registered sex offenders in our area? Our WTOC investigation may shock you. < The links to the GA & SC Sex Offender Lists are found at the bottom of this page >
Chatham County has 167 registered sex offenders -- and some of them may be living right next door to you. In one case -- 2 of them were living across the street from a daycare center -- a complete violation of state law.
Catherine Jones runs the daycare. 2 months ago, her children came to her with some pretty disturbing news from school.
"They released two sex offenders in my community," Jones said. "I do have a problem with that."
What she didn't know is it was also a state violation. Sex offenders living near a daycare is a big no-no.
"I had no idea. No idea," Jones says. Now the question is: how do not know?
Two registered sex offenders get placed right across the street from a daycare center. The law says sex offenders need to be 1000 feet from schools, parks and day care centers. Somehow, Jones says, someone wasn't doing their job.
"That's why things are happening and kids are getting hurt," Jones said. "Someone didn't do their job. And I seriously have a problem with that."
"Right now there are offenders who are in violation of state law and those people are being moved," Savannah-Chatham Probation Officer Greg Brown says.
According to Brown, offenders pick a place to live -- and the sheriff's department will check it out. I knocked on both doors and neither was answered. We contacted the sheriff's deputies and the say their records show both men have since moved.
"There's no excuse. No excuse," Jones said.
Last month, the sex offender who killed 9 year-old Jessica Lunsford, and Johnny Evander Couey, was in Savannah-- but didn't have to register. Officer Brown says that's even scarier.
"Not all offenders are registered," Brown says. "There are more offenders than people realize."
"He could have been across the street near my family and my home on the same block," Jones said.
Not knowing who her neighbors are has Catherine scared for her safety too.
"I tell my husband at night. Don't leave me here."