Take a walk around your neighborhood and you’ll find a variety of people doing the things you’d expect to see. For example, the kind, older gentleman watering his lawn and who always waves to people who walk by. Or the young couple who are always sitting on their porch, looking at their smartphones. Or how about the middle-aged guy who’s always working on his home?
They all look innocent enough and give you the comfortable feeling that you live in a safe neighborhood. But do you really know who’s in your neighborhood? Hiding behind that kind façade could be a registered sex offender, someone you absolutely do not want your kids interacting with! The question is, how do you know?
Finding Out Who’s Who
One of the ways you can start is by checking out the real identity of people you or your kids associate with. For example, if your kids always seem to end up playing at a particular home, it’s easy enough to make sure that person is who they say they are. Use Nuwber to get the true identity of anyone just by entering their name, email address, residence address or phone number. You’ll also be able to get additional information, like police records, social media profiles and other key data.
If they turn out to be who they say they are, and have no police record, you’re safe. On the other hand, if they come up with a different name or identity, you must check them further on one of the national sex offender websites. The reason is that many sex offenders choose not to register, particularly if they change their address. They are always required to report any address change, and when they don’t, they are referred to local law enforcement and prosecutors, but this can take months to correct.
Searching Sex Offender Websites
The Department of Justice helps people identify sex offenders in their neighborhood by hosting a website where people can search their community. It’s located at nasopw.gov and is a step in helping to find and identify sex offenders who may be living in your community. The website is considered a public service that provides people with sex offender data nationwide.
In addition, each state has it’s own sex offender registry. As an example, California has a Megan’s Law website, which is named for a federal law that requires law enforcement to publicize sex offender information on registered sex offenders. In addition to various local registries, the FBI maintains a sex offender website listed by state.
Using Good Judgment
When it comes to keeping you and your family safe from sexual predators, good judgment is one of the keys to your success. Don’t dismiss your gut feelings if you find that something doesn’t feel right with an individual. For example, if a person, young or old, prefers to spend their time with small children or plays with them constantly, something might not be right. That would be a good time to use Nuwber or one of the sex-offender registries to find background information on that individual.
Having specific rules for your kids is another approach many parents use. Children should have boundaries as to how far from home they’re allowed to go on their own or be required to always have a friend with them when they’re outside to play. Always have them tell you if a neighbor or someone at the neighbor’s home said or did anything unusual or enticed them to come into their home or go for a ride in their car.
You should also teach kids to never give out any personal information like birth dates, home or cell phone numbers or any other information about the family. That would include when parents might be traveling or planning vacations. When it comes to protecting children, “less is more” when it comes to divulging information.
Also, remember that 88% of sexual abuse incidents are never reported. So it may be that a predator lives in your neighborhood but has never been charged or convicted. That’s why you have to have set rules for children. The best way to prevent problems is to limit access, which is why your children should never be allowed to go into anyone’s home without your permission.
Taking these simple steps to identify registered sex offenders and to help prevent problems before the occur will keep your family save and provide you with peace-of-mind.