Video:How to Find Out of a Sex Offender Lives Nearbywith Jonathon Stewart
Sex offenders are required by law to report to various agencies. Find out how to research your neighborhood online.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Find Out of a Sex Offender Lives Nearby
In today's hectic life, many of us are so busy that we have no idea who lives next door. While this may or may not be a good thing, one thing is for sure, whether you have kids or live alone, you certainly don't want to find out that your neighbor is a sex offender and you had no idea. Here's what you can do to keep you and your family safe.
Tips for Finding Out of a Sex Offender Lives Nearby
While you may think your neighbor seems creepy or weird, that doesn't mean they are necessarily a sex offender. A sex offender is defined as a person who has been convicted of a crime that involves sex. This includes rape, sexual assault, child molestation, distribution of child pornography and indecent exposure. Once convicted and after serving their time, a sex offender is required by law to register in some way. This varies by state but could include such requirements as listing a DNA sample, their fingerprints, and where they are living, not where they get their mail. If they fail to comply and are caught, they can face additional criminal charges.
Information for Finding Out of a Sex Offender Lives Nearby
They are asked to register so that national, state, and local registries can help police track their movements and behaviors and, more importantly, allow the public to be aware if they live nearby. The national registry is called The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry Web site, or NSOPW. It was named after Dru Sjodin, a North Dakota college student who was raped and murdered by a registered sex offender.
The registry allows you to search all the individual state registries as well as registries for Guam, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. A list of the state sex offender registries can also be found at crime.about.com. There are also certain cities throughout the country that maintain their own local registries, which can be found online or by contacting your local police department. Each Web site that contains a sex offender registry list has a number of fields that can be used for searching. For example, you can enter a person's name, zip code, address, city, county and school districts. The sites often provide clear and easy to understand instructions on how to navigate and find the information you are looking for. If you are still unsure, there is also contact information to get help with your questions or concerns.
Once you know how close sex offenders live to you, it may change your perspective on where and when you let your children play or where you feel safe. Having this knowledge may provide a bit more protection than not knowing, but remember that you still have to take the utmost precaution wherever you go and wherever you let your children go.
I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.