This study examined whether South Carolina's sex offender registration and notification (SORN) policy was associated with a general deterrent effect on adult sex crimes. Using adult arrest data from 1990 through 2005, trend analyses modeled the intervention effects of 1995 (the year South Carolina's SORN policy was initially implemented) and 1999 (the year the policy was revised to include online registration). Results supported a significant deterrent effect for the 1995 intervention year, with an approximately 11% reduction in first-time sex crime arrests in the post-SORN period (1995-2005) relative to the pre-SORN period (1990-1994). This decline equated to averting approximately three new sex crime arrests per month. Comparison analyses with serious nonsex offenses against persons (assault and robbery) failed to identify similar effects, suggesting that the 1995 effect is attributable to sex offense-specific legislation. Findings are compared with the existing literature on general deterrent effects of SORN and discussed in the context of research examining other effects of SORN.
- Sexual offenders