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Varied tools help cops keep tabs on sex offenders

In a recent screen of the hundreds of convicted sex offenders living in Albany County, eight were cited for not complying with a law that they can't live within 1,000 feet of areas frequented by children.

As many as 400 convicted sex offenders are believed to live in Albany County, according to authorities. After the Albany County Legislature last year passed the 1,000-foot buffer requirement, sex offenders in violation of the law were told to move.

A report released Wednesday, Sept.5, by the County District Attorney showed that, of the 30 who were told to relocate, only eight offenders, six living in the city of Albany and two in Cohoes and Watervliet, failed to comply.

They looked at every sex offender in the county. Thirty were living within 1,000 feet of school zones or childcare facilities, said Heather Orth, spokeswoman for the District Attorney's office.

Authorities conducted the screenings of the offenders two months ago, she said. They were given 60 days to relocate.

The screen was part of a multi-agency push to bring the offenders into compliance.

In some cases, the unfunded mandate has required some police agencies, already stretched thin financially, to assign investigators and employ new methods to enforce the law.

"We have maps that basically show where these boundaries are. We Google Earth it and physically go out and check to make sure that they are not in violation of the law," said Colonie Police Chief Steven Heider.

The maps, which were made through the Albany County Sheriff's Department, break down each town, city and village in the county. Each registered childcare facility and school is identified, and a 1,000-foot red circle, drawn to scale, surrounds them. The city of Albany has the highest density of sex offenders, as well as schools and childcare facilities, said Orth.

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