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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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).
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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."
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