Florida site tracks world criminals
- By Brian Robinson
- Sep 03, 2001
A Web site developed for the Seminole County, Fla., sheriff's department
has attracted the attention of law enforcement around the world as a way
of tracking criminals who cross state and international borders in search
Groups of "traveling criminals" from places such as Eastern Europe and
South America come to Florida during the winter because of the warm weather,
explained Pete Robinson, Webmaster and special projects coordinator for
Seminole County. When caught and convicted, they have to register with the
local police wherever they are in the state, just as all other felons do,
and that information is posted on the Web site (www.seminolesheriff. org).
"The Web site was originally intended for local people so they could
track felons as they moved around the county," Robinson said. "The national
and international fallout came later."
It's believed to be the only database of such criminals in the world,
Robinson said, which is why it has become such a resource for law enforcement
in and outside the United States. In the county, it has also done its job
as a repository for civilian initiatives such as safety code enforcement
and neighborhood crime watches. Combined with the felon tracking, the Web
site has helped cut the county crime rate to half that in the rest of Florida,
The Web site was developed and is hosted for free by ICGate Inc., a
Seminole County software development consultancy.
The number of tracked felons is growing by 125 to 150 a month, Robinson
said, and none of their names are removed, even if they die.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.