Dougherty sees increase in number of sex offenders

Dougherty County is seeing more sex offenders leaving jail and living in the community after their sentence / Ashley Knight

Many people were surprised at how many sex offenders live in Dougherty County-over 300.

The number is up 24% over last year.

Captain Craig Dodd with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office says in the beginning, only rapists and child molesters were considered offenders, but the umbrella has grown.

"Certain forms of sexual battery that are misdemeanors of a high aggravated nature or the more minor forms of sexual assault that were not on there at first. They have also included statutory rape, some of the more minor sexual offenses," says Captain Craig Dodd with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.

Smaller Georgia counties sometimes ban their offenders from returning after jail.

Albany becomes an attractive settling place since it's the largest city in southwest Georgia.

"Because of the restrictions on where sex offenders can reside, they can't be so close to a school, or so close to a playground, Dougherty County seems to offer more locations that are suitable," says Col. John Ostrander with the Dougherty County Jail.

For a list of all sex offenders in the area, visit the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office website.