OCONEE COUNTY, GA — Oconee County is wrapping up a statewide effort to reverify where all registered sex offenders live and work. The initiative, Operation Watchful Eye III, was enforced by the Georgia Sheriff’s Association.

Grady Newsource reporter Caroline Elliott rode along with officers as they completed their routine check-ups and gathered data.

“We have a small fraction of sex offenders that live in our county,” Lt. Deanna Smith said. “Just a month ago we were at 18; we lost two sex offenders they moved out of the county. So now we’re at 16, which is relatively small in comparison to the counties around us.”

Smith has kept up with Oconee County’s sex offender registry for almost two years now, and she says Oconee County is home to a small number of sex offenders.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, there are nearly 600 registered sex offenders in a 25-mile radius from the University of Georgia. Barrow County alone has 140 registered sex offenders. Athens-Clarke County has 129.

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