JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Parents in Florida have a new tool for monitoring sex offenders in their neighborhood.
AlertID allows residents to get messages straight to their phone if an offender moves nearby.
The free service is now available for the first time in Florida.
Parents can go online to sign up. Once they do they can view a map of offenders in their area, and if one moves nearby, they'll receive a text message on their cellphone.
Some parents say it can make protecting their families more convenient than ever.
Leah mills said it would have come in handy last year when she had to hear about offenders in her neighborhood through word of mouth.
"I found out not only was he there, but there were two more one house down and one about a block and a half down on the other side of the street," Mills said.
Now she can use AlertID, which expanded its service to Florida this week.
AlertID uses info from state sex offender databases already accessible online. But takes it a step further by sending out texts and emails.
AlertID even has a free app that sends out push notifications.
"To know I have to go online to do so -- but like you said, to get a text? That would be so much easier," Mills said.
AlertID said it wants parents to have access to sex offender information as conveniently as possible.
Channel 4 crime analyst Ken Jefferson said that information can be invaluable.
"A lot of times you'll find that sex offenders are on the move, they're on the move quite often, and law enforcement recognizes that," Jefferson said. "That's why it's mandated that they check in on a monthly basis."
Now armed with one more tool, Jacksonville parents hope they can keep their children even safer.
"You would want to know those things, especially with your children walking to school," Mills said. "The busing services are no longer in that mile radius, so they do have to walk past that house to get to where they need to get to."
"I'm pretty excited about it," parent Sam Gilmore said. "It seems like a good idea. You know, those kind of people, you want to be aware of who's in your neighborhood."
AlertID said it hopes to be able to expand this program to more states and even start a new notification system that will let people know when crimes have been committed in their neighborhoods.