You might have a sex offender in your neighborhood — here's how you can tell and what you can do

Is your neighborhood actually as safe as you thought?

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  • The first time I checked the sex offender registry, I was shocked. Only a few minutes from my college apartment there were at least five registered sex offenders. I made an effort to remember the picture of the sex offenders and avoid them at all costs, but is that really the right approach?

  • The statistics

  • As of March 2016, there were 805,781 registered sex offenders in the United States and its territories. When it comes to your children, keep in mind that these numbers aren't all in regard to child sex crimes - but 1 in 5 girls (and 1 in 20 boys) are victims of sexual abuse, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. Ninty percent child sex abusers know the victim and about a third are related to the victim, according to National Sex Offender Public Website.

  • Keep an eye on who spends time alone with your children, but also check out what's happening in your neighborhood.

  • Finding registered sex offenders

  • There are lots of sites where you can find where a registered sex offender is living. Most sites try to keep their records accurate, but there are times where addresses aren't updated. The following sites are usually reliable:

  • Family Watchdog

  • This site not only allows you to see the sex offender's address, but you can also get information on his/her description and crime. If you sign up on this site you will receive information about sex offenders moving into and out of your neighborhood.

  • Do you know who lives in your neighborhood? How many RSO's (Registered Sexual Offenders) live in your neighborhood? Is...

    Posted by Family Watchdog on Saturday, November 5, 2016
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  • In the picture, you can see the different colored flags which indicate a different kind of sex abuse crime.The red and maroon deal with child sex abuse.

  • National Sex Offender Public Website

  • This site is run by the US Department of Justice, so it's usually accurate. You can also read up on tips about how to protect your children - and download the app to help keep your mind at ease when traveling.

  • Crime Reports

  • This site not only shows you who the sex offenders are and where they live, but you can also look at other criminal activities that are going on around you.

  • Neighborhood Scout

  • This sitehas loads of helpful information, but you have to pay for it. You can learn about the average real estate cost, the demographics, school ratings, crime activity (including registered sex offenders) and weather trends in your area. It'd be helpful to check this out before moving to a new neighborhood.

  • Protecting your children

  • Teach your children common safety procedures like not going into a stranger's home. If the offender is still on probation, you can contact your local police station to talk to their probation officer; feel free to ask any questions you have. Occasionally you will receive a public notice if an offender moves into the neighborhood.

  • Keep a watchful eye on the person and report anything suspicious to the police, but remember the offender could have changed their ways. Each of the offenders have been declared guilty for reason, but it doesn't mean they want to, or are going to repeat their crime. Be considerate, but cautious always keep a watchful eye.

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Stacie Simpson is a FamilyShare staff writer. She loves listening to, gathering and sharing stories and advice to help others improve their quality of life. She spends most of her free time with her husband, ballroom dancing, reading and writing.

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