Back to Whatcom County home page Whatcom County | Departments | Contacts |  Help |  Search
 Sheriff's Officeheader image
  Home  | Services  | Support  | Employment  | Volunteer  | Contact Us

   
Sex Offender Registration Information

Risk Level Classification and Notification

What is a Risk Level Classification?

Risk level classification is based upon a science and multidisciplinary perspective using objective scoring criteria to determine an offender's likelihood of re-offense. 

Risk levels are a three-tier designation of Risk-Level 1 (Low), Risk-Level 2 (Moderate), and Risk-Level 3 (High) classifying assessing the offender's potential of re-offense. 

The offender risk level is determined by the law enforcement agency in which the offender resides.  The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office is not responsible for the sex offender rating completed by another law enforcement agency.  Any questions regarding a sex/kidnapping offender's level should be directed to the law enforcement agency in which the offender resides.

Back to Top 

What is a Risk Level 1 Offender?

Risk Level 1 offenders present the lowest possible risk to the community and their likelihood to re-offend is considered minimal.  They normally have not exhibited predatory type characteristics and most have successfully participated or are participating in approved treatment programs.  Many are first time offenders.  The majority of the registered sex/kidnapping offenders in Whatcom County are classified as Level 1 offenders.  They usually know, live with, or are related to their victims.

Back to Top

What is a Risk Level 2 Offender?

Risk Level 2 offenders present a moderate risk to the community and they have a higher likelihood of re-offending than level 1 offenders.  They are considered an increased risk to re-offend because of the nature of their previous crime(s) and lifestyle (drug and alcohol abuse and other criminal activity).  Some have refused to participate or failed to complete approved treatment programs.  They may have more than one victim and the abuse may be long term.  These offenders usually groom their victims and may use threats to commit their crimes.  These crimes may be predatory with the offender using a position of trust to commit their crimes.  Typically these individuals do not appreciate the damage they have done to their victims. 

Back to Top 

What is a Risk Level 3 Offender?

Risk Level 3 offenders pose a potential high risk to the community and are a threat to re-offend if provided the opportunity.  Most have prior sex crime convictions as well as other criminal convictions.  Their lifestyles and choices place them in this classification.  Some have predatory characteristics and may seek out victims.  Generally they have refused or failed to complete approved treatment programs.  They usually have one or more victims.  They may not know their victim(s).  The crime may show a manifest cruelty to the victim(s) and these offenders usually deny or minimize the crime.  These offenders commonly have clear indications of a personality disorder.  Approximately 7% of the classified registered sex and kidnapping offenders in Whatcom County are classified as Level 3 offenders. 

Back to Top 

What is a Risk Level 1 Notification?

A risk level 1 notificationis information of registered sex/kidnapping offenders that is shared with other law enforcement agencies.  Upon request, relevant, necessary and accurate information may be released to any victims or witnesses to the offense and to any individual community member who lives near the residence where the offender resides, expects to reside, or is regularly found.  Level 1 offenders may not be the subject of public notification (with the exception of homeless or transient level 1 sex/kidnap offenders).

Back to Top 

What is a Risk Level 2 Notification?

A risk level 2 notification is information of registered sex/kidnapping offenders that may be released to public and private schools, child day care centers, family day care providers, businesses and organizations that serve primarily children, women, or vulnerable adults, and neighbors in community groups near the offender's residence, or where the offender expects to reside, or is regularly found.  Registration information on Level 2 offenders may be generally released to the public (such as offenders who have failed to register or are transient or homeless).

Back to Top 

What is a Risk Level 3 Notification?

A risk level 3 notification is information of registered sex/kidnapping offenders that may be generally released such as with Level 2 offenders and in addition includes news media releases.  Any person may review level 2 or level 3 community notices at the Sheriff's Office Records Division.  The Sex & Kidnapping Offender Community Notification book only contains notices prepared and distributed by the Sheriff's Office.  You must be present at the Sheriff's Office to request copies of the community notices. 

Purpose of Community Notification

An informed public is a safer public.  Community notification is not intended to increase fear.  Sex and kidnapping offenders have always lived in our communities.  The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office has no legal authority to direct sex/kidnapping offenders as to where they may live, work, or regularly be found.  Unless restricted by a court order, sex/kidnapping offenders are constitutionally permitted to live wherever they choose.  The legislature has determined that the purpose of the Community Protection act of 1990 is "to assist law enforcement agency's efforts to protect their communities" by providing relevant and necessary information.  If "the public is provided adequate notice and information, the community can develop constructive plans to prepare themselves and their children for the offender's release."

Back to Top | Sex Offender Home Page | Sheriff Home Page