The Department of Health and Human Services reports that 60 per cent of girls who had sex before the age of 15 were forced to do so by a sex offender. The majority of these children became the prey of sexual offenders living near or in their very own homes. Repeat sexual offenders account for 52 per cent of all sexual offences and are categorised as Level 2 or Level 3 offenders. You need to know how to locate them when they are living near you.
Go to The National Sex Offender Registry. You can search for sexual offenders who are living near your home. Visit http://www.familywatchdog.us and type the information for your street, city or Postcode to receive the list and location of sexual offenders in your area. This is a free search tool that is updated periodically from publicly available data sources. (See Reference 2)
Ask at your local police station. Almost all of the local police stations have a list of registered sex offenders. You have a right to know who they are and where they are located. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, "Laws that restrict where registered sex offenders may live have become increasingly popular during the past decade."
Check with your school district. Schools work in collaboration with the police and often mail home announcements regarding the locations of sexual offenders within the school district.
Visit your town hall or government centre. Most of the municipal centres have a sex offender registry for public viewing. The registry will list the "level" of offence. According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice, the levels are as follows: Level 1, low risk; Level 2, moderate or repeat offence; and Level 3, high risk of repeat offence and danger to public safety.
Read the local newspaper. The local news usually announces the arrival of sex offenders in the community either through parole or relocation. Stay alert and informed of local happenings with regard to these individuals.
- Use caution before trusting anyone completely and allowing them to get too close to you or your children.
- There is no defining characteristic for the sexual offender. They come in all shapes and sizes and could be young, old, married, unmarried, male or female.
- Offenders typically prey on children or people they know and not total strangers.