When an individual has to register as a sex offender in Washington, they will be assigned one of three risk levels by the law enforcement agency where they reside. These levels, based on a multifaceted scoring and review process, indicate the likelihood that the individual will reoffend.
Depending on the community, residents may receive a notice about the offender settling in their area by mail or the information may be posted on the local law enforcement website. You can find out what method your community uses to communicate this information by contacting your local police department.
You may also have the option of registering for email alerts when a sex offender settles within one mile of your home. Notices are sent when an offender moves into a neighborhood, but they are not sent when an offender moves out.
Here’s a breakdown of each level.
The majority of registered sex offenders are assigned Level 1. This indicates that the individual has a low likelihood of reoffending. A Level 1 sex offender is often a first-time offender and also knew their victim. Since they have not exhibited predatory behavior, and have completed a treatment program, it’s presumed that there’s little to no threat of reoffending with random strangers.
Individuals assigned to Level 1 do not appear in the searchable sex offender database and the residents in the community where they reside are not sent a notice about the offender. People wanting information for a specific Level 1 offender can get that information by calling their local sheriff’s office.
Offenders assigned to Level 2 are deemed to be at moderate risk of reoffending. These individuals may have had more than one victim or the abuse may have been long term. There may have been a predatory component to the crime, like methodical grooming, violating a position of trust or threats to the victim(s).
The offender may not acknowledge the harm they’ve caused and may have refused or failed to complete a treatment program.
Offenders assigned to Level 3 are deemed to be a high risk for reoffending. The individual may have had multiple victims and/or a history of violent crime. They may have a history of crimes associated with drug or alcohol abuse. The offender may have a suspected or diagnosed personality disorder. Their victims may have been strangers, or the attack may have been especially brutal.
Level 3 offenders frequently show little to no remorse for their crime(s) and, as such, may have refused or failed to complete a treatment program.
If the offender kidnaps a minor or someone who is not related to them, whether or not a sex crime was committed, they are required to register.
If you have any questions about how the sex offender registry works in your area, contact your local law enforcement.