WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- For parents, being aware of sex offenders around your neighborhood and schools is important. A new piece of technology unveiled today could better help you keep your family safe.
Want to know if a sex offender lives in your neighborhood? There's an app for that.
Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Monday the free app developed by the NC Department of Justice is available. It's a tool for parents, as well as tech-savvy kids.
"Unfortunately, they're the targets of most of it, so the faster they can find out and spread it to their friends or their group of friends and say, 'Hey, this isn't a nice person to be around.' Kids eight and 10 years old have cell phones now," Gale Durham of Wilmington said.
This new North Carolina Sex Offender Registry mobile app let's you see just how many sex offenders live within a five-mile radius from your home. Now, you can see all of it from the palm of your hand.
Users can search for registered offenders by GPS location or street address from wherever they are.
The app can even help law enforcement trying to keep tabs on registered offenders.
"Even an officer out on patrol, out in there car will be able to access it on their phone and just see if somebody is in the registry," Wilmington Police Department spokesman Kevin Smith said.
"It's very fast, and it's set up much, much better," said Megan Oates, the mother of thre little girls, who has used a website in the past to look up sex offenders.
"Being a mom, being a parent, I like to know these types of things," Oates said. "They're very important. I have comfort in knowing."
Oates downloaded the new app onto her iPad. She prefers it to the website she's been using.
"You have to do a lot more searching and it takes a lot longer to load, and this is very easy," she said. "It's like one click and everything is there."
Ease of access helping parents keep their kids safe.
The North Carolina Sex Offender Registry app also lets you sign up for phone and e-mail alerts when sex offenders move into your zip code.