March 16-22 is Sunshine Week, a week devoted to freedom of information and open government. As part of Sunshine Week, the TC Daily Planet will feature articles introducing ways that every citizen can access government information.
If you want to know how safe your neighborhood is you can look around, ask a neighbor, or go online. The Minnesota Department of Corrections website has listings of Level 3 sex offenders for the entire state, searchable by zip code.
The public risk posed by a sex offender is determined by a committee and that risk is given a level.
Level 1 poses limited public risk and notification is given to law enforcement agencies and victims. Level 2 poses a slightly greater risk and in addition to the above, notification must also be given to schools, daycares, and other organizations that might be at risk. Level 3 offenders are deemed dangerous to the public and therefore, in addition to Level 1 and Level 2 requirements, law enforcement must notify all other members of the community that may come into contact with the offender. This is done by community meetings, neighborhood flyers, and an online listing.
Currently, 13 offenders are listed as living in Ramsey County and 71 in Hennepin County. Clicking on a particular name will bring up a screen full of information. Mug shots, physical attributes, aliases, supervising agent, release date, and last known address are all listed. There is also a short description of crimes and known victims.
Finding prostitution records is a little more difficult. The City of Minneapolis website has a short list of convicted solicitors of prostitution. The site states that the photos and bios will remain up for 6 months after conviction date. Currently, there are three men listed.
Saint Paul police department has prostitution arrest photos. Eleven men and women are listed on this site. These offenders were arrested within the last 18 months for engaging in prostitution. The site has a more complete bio and arrest photos. In addition, the Saint Paul police department has a site listing indecent conduct arrests. At this time, there are no arrests listed.
The online government records available to the public on sex offenders and prostitution are substantial.