By Kyle Meenan
First Coast News
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- When calculating the number of registered sexual offenders and predators by the general population, Jacksonville scores a dubious #1.
According to statistics available from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, or FDLE, there are 1,620 registered sexual offenders in Duval County. With a population of 826,436, that means the ratio of offenders to the general population is one offender for every 510-persons calling Duval home, or 1:510
In Hillsborough County, the ratio is 1:785
In Orange County it is 1:729
In Miami-Dade, it is 1:1150.
"It's scary," said lab technician Barbara Green as she walked to her car in Riverside.
"I'm not from here. I'm from New York and it's scary. I thought I was trying to get away from the crime but I see it followed me!"
Green's son is grown, but she worries about her young nieces and nephews --especially after hearing the ratio of First Coast Residents who are registered sex offenders or predators.
"It's surprising. It's alarming. It's actually terrifying for a parent," said Green.
At the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the registration of sexual offenders is a daily practice. By law, they are required to register twice a year, notifying officials within 48-hours of moving to update their database information.
In the Career Criminals Unit of the JSO there are three special teams of eight members each that deal strictly with enforcing the registration laws on sexual predators.
"I really don't have an explanation on why we have more offenders and predators per capita than any other city in Florida," said JSO Sergeant James Brennock.
His goal in dealing with predators?
"Keep tabs on 'em. Keep track of 'em. Make sure they know what the requirements are. Make sure they're registering on time, and that they're actually up to date," said Brennock.
"Anytime they move, they're supposed to update their driver's license within 48-hours," said Brennock.
Failure to comply is a felony.
"In a nutshell, they have to come down twice a year and register, per the Jessica Lunsford Act," said the Sergeant.
The information gathered is shared immediately with the FDLE to update its sexual offender database online.
"Any citizen can go on there. Track the offender or predator, where they're living at. See where they're living in their community," said Brennock.
And Barbara Green is grateful for the work JSO is doing and for the FDLE website.
"It lets me know where they are. And lets me know how many of them there are!"
First Coast News