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Government offices need strong address management practices

Rachel Wheeler Archive

For any organization that works with large volumes of data on individuals and their contact information, it's important to have strong address management solutions in place for keeping tabs on everyone. This is especially the case for government institutions, which are relied upon to provide essential services for the public good.

If the government has inaccurate contact information, the effects can be catastrophic. For example, Newsday recently reported on an alarming situation that's unfolding in Suffolk County, N.Y. - the local government there is having a difficult time keeping track of sex offenders in the area because dozens of them have provided inaccurate addresses.

The newspaper reported that county lawmakers recently passed a new piece of legislation intended to more closely monitor ex-convicts, but more than 140 of them violated rules that required them to provide updated information to the state registry.

Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, told Newsday that increased scrutiny leads to more arrests of people who could do harm to the community, and she noted that this heightened level of surveillance begins with accurate contact information.

"It's not necessarily about arrests and convictions," said Ahearn. "It's about ensuring that this registry is what it's supposed to be. It's supposed to be a tool for the community to use to protect themselves and their children."

Ahearn also noted that to date, her group has forwarded 182 tips to Suffolk police regarding offenders who were possibly violating regulations and failing to keep their contact information up to date. This information could lead to more police control and ultimately a safer community.

The onus shouldn't be on independent groups, though. Ideally, local governments would use better technologies for managing contact information and ensuring that people's addresses are accurate and up to date.