The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office partners with Safe Virtual Neighborhoods to aid the community
Sheriff announces new tool for child safety
New technology available through a company under contract with the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office can help parents increase the margin of safety between their children and registered sex offenders.
“Safe Virtual Neighborhoods” is a smartphone application that alerts parents when a child is lingering near a place where a registered sex offender lives or works. SVN is offered through “Offender Watch,” the same company that manages aspects of sex offender registration programs in our parish and elsewhere in Louisiana.
The company offers the service at a cost of $9.95 per year, which covers up to five phones in a single family. Our agency does not share in any of the fees paid for the service, although we do pay an annual assessment to the company ourselves, to allow Terrebonne Parish residents access to the functions, through our sex offender database.
Promotion of this system by us is being done in conjunction with the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association. Parents may download the program from their smart phone’s application store, installing it on their own phone and the phones of their children. The application does NOT send any data about the child’s location to us or to the company. It does send a notification to the parent’s phone when the child is in the vicinity of a sex offender’s registered home or work location, if the child lingers. The app only works with data already in our system.
Parents may then speak with the child about the issue and can of course notify law enforcement of any concerns they may have.
Like any other electronic tools, Safe Virtual Neighborhoods is not a substitute for proper supervision of children and good parenting practices. It is also not a panacea for child safety issues. However, if properly used, it can enhance good
practices a family already has in place.