According to statistics there are over 860,000 sex offenders living in the US at any given time. With many of them roaming the streets, chances are that there may be one (or more) living right in your neighborhood. While it is natural to ask “Is there a sex offender near me?” Luckily, figuring out how to find sex offenders in your neighborhood is not that difficult.
Why Are There So Many Sex Offenders Roaming Free?
Most people think people who prey on children should be thrown into a cell and throw away the key. Unfortunately, sentencing laws have not really caught up with the times. There are lots of reasons someone who preys on children can go free after a seemingly short time.
Proving sexual abuse in court is difficult and putting children through the trauma of testifying in open court is not ideal. Many times prosecutors cut deals to protect the interest of the victim.
Judges are an elected position and sometimes you just get bad judges on the bench who give out ridiculously lenient sentences for sex offenders for whatever backwards reason.
Once Time Is Served, Little Can Be Done
The sex offender registry can only do so much and unfortunately, once an offender has done their time, they are usually free to go out and reoffend. With such high recidivism and such limited resources to track and monitor these predators, it’s no surprise you see multiple offenders completely unmonitored.
It is Up to the State To Report
Right now, sex offender registries are set up by state, and there is not much money spent on tracking people who fall through the cracks. It is easy for someone to skip town and start up a life in another state with a seemingly clean slate.
Statute of Limitations
Many times it takes years for a victim of sexual abuse to come forward. By the time that happens, the statute of limitations on the crime has passed and there is nothing that can be done to charge the offender criminally.
How Do You Spot A Sexual Predator
The scariest part is that it’s very difficult to just look at someone and tell if they’re a sex offender. Most of the time they look just like everyone else or worse end up in positions of power or situate themselves as a beloved and active member of the community. Hiding in plain sight is how they are able to get their victims.
There are some red flags to look for:
- Engaging in an abnormal amount of physical contact with children (tickling, wrestling, etc.).
- Enjoy being in the company of children more than they enjoy the company of adults.
- Have unusually close relationships or “special bonds” with children.
- Volunteer for anything and everything involving children.
- They have very few friends of their own.
The Grooming Process
Predators go through a grooming process on their victims. If you know the signs you can help stop it before it starts.
Step 1: Choosing Their Victim
They will identify a victim who seems vulnerable. Often looking for a child with low self-esteem, an obedient/compliant personality, or mental disability. They prefer to go after children whose parents seem preoccupied or uninvolved, but this is not always the case. Sexual predators have acknowledged that parents who constantly monitor their child’s electronic communication are one of the top deterrents when they’re selecting a victim.
Step 2: Creating Trust
Predators will try to create a sense of trust in your child by providing a sympathetic ear and taking a special interest in your their interests and activities. They will also go out of their way to build the parent’s trust as well, often by offering help or doing favors.
Step 3: Create Dependence
Once trust is built, your child begins to feel that the perpetrator can give him or her something no one else can or will. They might make your child feel like they are the only person who truly understands, cares for, or protects them. If you have any reservations about how close your child is getting to a particular adult, it’s up to you to put your foot down and make sure it doesn’t become inappropriate.
Step 4: Get Your Child Alone
Private lessons, babysitting, special trips there are many ways a predator will try to get your child alone.
Step 5: Create A Sense of Secrecy
The perpetrator begins to create a sense of secrecy around the relationship with your child. They may invent a “secret game” the two can play together. The perpetrator will try to learn what level of control you maintain over your child’s phone or computer. Then, they will determine the best way to contact the child privately without the parents finding out. A good way to prevent this from happening is having a rule about no secrets. If you are truly concerned about your child’s safety a phone monitoring app like PhoneSpector can secretly monitor things like text messages, photos and social media so you can monitor if there is anyone sending your child inappropriate messages.
Step 6: Sexualizing The Child
Once a predator is totally comfortable with the situation they will start to initiate a sexual relationship. Usually this starts out slowly and goes further. If your child’s behavior starts to change or you notice anything out of the ordinary, something may be up. That’s when you should contact local law enforcement.
How To Keep Sex Offenders Away From Your Children
The best way to keep sex offenders away from your child is to know who they are. Doing a Public Sex Offender Registry Search will let you know which ones are living in your neighborhood. A criminal background check on specific adults in your child’s life will let you know if there is anything shady about them.
It is always a good idea to keep your guard up about any adult who is around your child. Keep your eye out for the red flags and perhaps, monitor their online behavior to make sure they stay safe.