Offender photos to be added to monitoring website - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Offender photos added to monitoring website

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Adding offender photographs will serve as an additional tool for crime victims when they are registering for notification or searching for information on their offender. Adding offender photographs will serve as an additional tool for crime victims when they are registering for notification or searching for information on their offender.

SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - A statewide website that registers crime offender information is taking its services one step further by adding photos of the offenders as an additional tool for crime victims.

The South Carolina Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification System, or SC SAVIN, currently lists information for offenders such as their name, age, status with law enforcement meaning if the offender is in custody, out of custody, or on probation and where the offender is incarcerated if that's the case.

Adding offender photographs will serve as an additional tool for crime victims when they are registering for notifications or searching for information on their offender. The system will also give law enforcement officials confidence that the offender search has returned the correct offender by means of visual identification.

The new photo enhancement feature was funded through a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance.

"SC SAVIN is a valuable service we depend upon to notify crime victims about offenders," said Aiken County Sheriff Michael E. Hunt. "Having the option to view a photo of an offender will add a sense of certainty when registering to receive notifications and information about an offender."

Angela Timberlake, an Horry County woman currently living at the Horry County Homeless Teens and Infants shelter, says the new feature is a welcome change. Timberlake says she dealt with abuse from several boyfriends, and even members of her own family in the past. She says she can use the system to monitor the offenders who harmed her.

"If [they were] around this area...I'd about it," Timberlake says. "It would be a more of a comfort, because then I'd be able to know what [they] look like now, and know where [they're] at."

The SC SAVIN network of 44 county detention centers, four prison camps, one city jail and three state agencies, began in August of 2008. The service provides victims of a crime with confirmation that a particular offender is in jail and allows them to sign up for notifications on the custody status of that offender. Victims can receive notifications either by phone or by e-mail. SC SAVIN automatically notifies registered victims of important events, such as transfer or release of an offender.

Some 92,955 individuals are registered in the SAVIN system to receive notification of an offender's status. Officials report that 1,408,413 inbound phone and web site searches of  the statuses of offenders have been made to date over the four years the program has been in existence.

Authorities with the South Carolina Department of Corrections say uploading the thousands of photos is a slow process, but will be finished in all areas by February of 2014.

Anyone who is a victim of a crime can call or click to register for SC SAVIN information and notification. The toll free phone number is 1-866-SC SAVIN (727-2846) or visit vinelink.com to register for SC SAVIN services.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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