Children could be envied for their innocent and care-free nature. Unfortunately, there are individuals in this world who seek to take advantage of that very same nature. Therefore one of the most important duties parents and guardians have is to keep kids safe. This can be quite unnerving when considering these facts about sex offenders. A recent estimate states that there are approximately 747,408 registered sex offenders in the US alone. And keep in mind that is only the number of pedophiles who are registered.
Not all predators will be registered for various reasons including the fact that the abuse may not have been reported. It is important to keep in mind too that in the majority of cases the victim knew the abuser (i.e. a family member, babysitter, etc). However, caution definitely should be taken concerning children's safety in public places and around people they don't know well.
Thankfully in today's technological world, it is easy to go online and see if any registered sex offenders reside near home. There are several old fashioned methods as well for those who prefer a technology-free way to investigate their concerns.
14 State Specific Online Databases
These state specific databases can be found by googling sex offender registries in the state or even in the county which one lives. One will need the same basic information needed to search on other public record sites. This method can be useful if other registry sites didn't turn up any results or if knowledge of a specific area is preferred. Websites for state specific Bureaus of Investigation may be helpful tools to utilize in order to ensure the accuracy of information.
These sites can provide extra facts also such as whether or not the offender is currently incarcerated. Check to see if the state registry site has community notifications. If it does it may be possible to set up e-mail alerts that will be sent in the event a registered sex offender moves in close by. This way repeated searches won't be necessary and peace of mind will be available.
13 Offender Maps
These can be found on sites like FamilyWatchdog.us and other sex offender registry sites. A map will be shown with markers pointing out where registered offenders live or reside. By clicking on a particular marker more data will be shown including exact address, name, and distance. This is a handy method for those who want a general knowledge of how many registered sex offenders there are locally.
Having a visual of this data can help in deciding which locations to steer kids away from. It can be scary to realize how many sex offenders are in the vicinity but knowledge is most certainly power. Details about how close these individuals are to schools is also shown on many of these maps. One can also learn how near to parks, clubs, and other places registered sex offenders are residing. This knowledge can then be used to shape a family safety plan.
12 Sex Offender Registry Search Phone Apps
An app called Sex Offender Search is available for free download on the Google Play Store with optional in-app purchases. It has a rating of just over four out of five stars. It was updated just this month and it gets it resources straight from multiple state databases and registries. The app offers crime & offender map markers which allow a person to set up notifications for when new activity occurs nearby. This feature also lets one learn about crimes in areas one might visit.
Other apps available include an app for the US Dept. of Justice (NSOPW). And although not specifically a sex offender registry search tool, there is also the MobilePatrol Public Safety App which provides safety tips, alerts, and information geared toward a particular locale. The app also allows one to contribute to neighborhood safety by reporting on safety issues. Peace of mind, got to love it!
11 Expand The Search To More Than Just Databases
Unfortunately not all sex offenders are registered and in some circumstances, they may no longer be required to register as such. An estimated 100,000 unregistered sex offenders reside in the US. Therefore it would be prudent to do some additional checking to find out whether someone is an unregistered sex offender. This can be as simple as googling the individual's name which might bring up things like news and old arrest reports. This can provide details on what the individual was arrested for.
The U.S. Marshal Service is designated to arrest unregistered sex offenders. Their website has a most wanted sex offenders list. Knowledge about a wanted offender's whereabouts can be provided to this agency via local district phone numbers. So it's another great tool to help keep these offenders away from kids. Another great method is to search court records. This can generally be done either in-person or online.
10 Attend Public Community Notification Meetings
By attending these community notification meetings locals can be aware of when sex offenders are being released and moving or residing in their neighborhood. Megan's Law was passed in 1996 allowing these important meetings to take place in the US. What details are released and how it is released varies by state law. What details are released and how it is released varies by state law.
Offenders are then held accountable via this process by locals being made aware of their presence in the community. It is thought that this could make it more difficult for pedophiles to re-offend although the jury's still out on this one. This method is a great way to become proactive in protecting children in the community. And knowledge can be shared with neighbors who can't attend especially those with children. This is a way for those without technology at their fingertips to become informed.
9 Request Details From The Local Authorities
Some basic information will be needed about the individual in question. This may include their name, address or general location, license plate number, and distinctive physical characteristics. If one has a wish to acquire more specific information the individual's date of birth may be required. The individual's social security number could be needed if one wants to find out if a spouse or other close person is a registered sex offender.
Request to speak with the person in charge of the area's registry, they likely can provide the answers sought. One can request they provide a list of all outstanding criminal warrants in the county regarding sex crimes. One might also ask if they keep a county most wanted list. This is another excellent method for those who need an internet free approach. Plus this way equals playing a proactive role in ensuring safety in the community.
8 Request Background Checks From Local Agencies
In some states, citizens may request background checks on individuals for a small fee, typically around $20 to $30. This is yet another good alternative to using the internet to search because this method can be done either in-person, over the phone, or of course online. The state Bureau of Investigations or the state Criminal Apprehension Division is where to go for this method. A simple search on their website will tell whether or not they provide this service.
This is also a method that involves one in their community. Information release laws vary from state to state. This method will be a good place to start to acquire necessary data. Having knowledge of an individual's past convictions can help one to maintain family safety. By knowing that certain individuals may pose a risk one can distance their kids away from them.
7 Hire A Private Company Or Private Investigator
Be cautious with this method as only complete and accurate information is wanted. Do research on the company or investigator to see if they seem professional and thorough. Keep in mind that cheaper does not equal better in this situation. Some services they could provide include background checks and sex offender searches. Once again this method need not involve the computer. In fact, in-person may be better in this case, or at least over the phone for communication purposes.
Do a google search for best rated private investigators in the area or open up the local Yellow Pages. Basic information on the individual in question will need to be provided in order for the investigation to be done. This could be a good place to begin to get answers to any concerns. At the very least it could bring some welcomed knowledge or maybe even relief.
6 Request A Criminal History Report
Many law enforcement agencies will provide a list of any felony arrests that a person has in that state. Find out if they were arrested in other states or jurisdictions by calling up those agencies as well and requesting the same. There may be a small fee charged to provide this service. State prisons and county jails may be good places to ask for this information.
Providing identifying information about the particular individual will be necessary to use this method. Remember to not ever repeat false information or confidential information as there could be legal implications involved. This is one of the better alternatives to doing online searches. It is a great way to ensure obtaining this knowledge through accurate, trustworthy, and legal means. Once again another good starting point to supply some general knowledge needed.
5 Assemble A Neighborhood Watch Program
Neighborhood watches can be registered on the National Neighborhood Watch website. The first step to take though is to chat up neighbors and recruit as many as one can. The more the better in this case. Once the watch is relatively organized, the next step is to contact the local law enforcement agency to set up the first Watch Group meeting. Next step create concrete and communicative action plans.
Then go forward with the group and take action! The action-taking can include meetings and events to foster neighborhood awareness. This might well be the best option for those who are the 'let's do something about this matter' type. It is extremely proactive and really gets the neighborhood united for the greater good.
4 Get Educated On The Red Flags
Being aware of the signs that an individual may be a predator is one of the more involved steps one can take to maintaining their child's safety. By being knowledgeable and observant it may be possible to avert certain situations before they happen or to stop it in its tracks. The more obvious signs include noticing that an individual only ever seems to be around children, barely ever adults. Children themselves can alert parents to the fact that something may not be right.
If a child is fearful or uncomfortable around certain individuals there may well be a good reason. We all have instincts that warn us of danger ahead, so if a child emotes a fear it is important to acknowledge and take it seriously. Remember even if it turns out the individual did nothing wrong it was still important that precaution was taken and the individual will understand in time.
3 Learn Where Predators Tend To Look For Potential Victims
Playgrounds, parks, stores, arcades, Pokemon Go stops, what do they all have in common? Answer, children abound in and around all of them. And sadly so do predators. The key thing to keep in mind when considering whether a place could be a hot spot for predators who prey on children is that pretty much if many children are there, so might predators. This doesn't mean children ought to never go out in public, simply that precaution is necessary and parental observation preferred.
Also key is to bear in mind that whilst child abductions and child abuse can involve unknown strangers, it is actually more common that the victim knows the offender. So don't ignore the signs in these cases either. If a child always appears uncomfortable or scared around a family member or even a babysitter, investigate. Do not ignore this as it could be a red flag.
2 Gut Instincts And Intuition
This is a sign that too many discounts. But the fact is our ancient ancestors had these instincts to protect themselves and so do we. And mamas especially have built-in instincts so as to keep her babies safe. Say there is a man hanging around strangely close to the playground equipment, be vigilant, go with it.
Intuition may seem at first glance to be mysterious, but it truly isn't. Psychologists know that our hunches, or intuition, are based on our past experiences and perceptions. It is a very important survival mechanism we all have instilled in us and although it is not always right, it is clear we ought to pay heed to it. In any case erring on the side of caution can't hurt, especially when it comes to protecting our future generation.
1 Encourage Children To Communicate
Children might well tell us when something is wrong. But they won't if they do not feel safe or comfortable in doing so. One way to facilitate healthy communication is to encourage them early on to share when they are sad, scared, and more. Encourage them to describe and explain what they feel.
This serves two purposes. First, it creates an emotionally healthy, safe, and functional environment for the child to grow up in. And when he/she is an adult they will be more likely to not hold their emotions in, which psychologists will say is a plus. And second, the child will feel safe enough to confide any worries, concerns, or fears when they experience them. Children are smarter than many give them credit for, so don't discount their emotions just because they are young.
Sources: TheyCallMeMummy.com, TheMamaBearEffect.org, ABCactionnews.com, FamilyWatchDog.us, NSOPW.gov