Door-to-door effort to track sex offenders

FRESNO, Calif.

Federal and local law enforcement officers are making sure sex offenders are living where they say they are and abiding by the rules.

Chief Jerry Dyer said, "The fact that we are following them, tracking them, monitoring them, holds them accountable, because they cannot hold themselves accountable."

For the past several weeks, registered sex offenders have been getting personal visits from police officers and parole agents. And once word about the operation hit the streets, Madera County Sheriff John Anderson says the offenders who were out of compliance started running- to the nearest police agency.

Sheriff Anderson said, "Within a couple of days after the operation was over, before we could get to the DA's office to fill out warrants, we had about 5 or 10 people come in and want to turn themselves in because they heard we were looking for them."

Police say the offenders who are mobile pose the biggest threat. Officers say tracking those with a deviant past is helpful to prevent crime and also know where to look if a neighborhood where they live is being targeted. Local law enforcement leaders say some of the sex offenders welcomed the visits.

U.S. Marshall Albert Najera said, "These folks know their own tendencies, they know that at times they can't stop doing what they are doing and just knowing that we're there. And we had at least one person tell us when we knocked on their door, oh, the U.S. Marshalls, you're here again."

Federal and local agents hope their watchful eye will stop sex offenders from committing new crimes. 45 sex offenders were arrested during the operation for having warrants or being out of compliance.

Federal officials are hoping to make these compliance checks a twice a year effort.

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