Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

12 Online Tools to Discover Where Sexual Predators and Criminals Live in Your Neighborhood

 

Parents, teachers and other guardians who are concerned about the safety of their children can often reduce the risks their children face by educating themselves as to where sexual predators and criminals reside in their neighborhoods. Registered sex offenders are listed in a national and/or state database, available to the public online, as well as on criminal background check websites. Listings usually include their full name and home address, letting parents type in their zip code and find out which homes in their neighborhood conceal potential threats to their children. Here are 12 different online tools that can be used to search for sexual predators in your area.

Quick Searches

For a fast and easy search, use one of these non-governmental sites to discover if there are any sex criminals living in your area.

  1. Family Watchdog: Family Watchdog maintains that "awareness is your best defense." Users can search multiple states at once if they want to search by location. The site also lets users search by name if they are trying to track down a particular offender. In addition, this site posts information about food and drug recalls and product recalls.
  2. CriminalCheck.com: Search by name or zip code at CriminalCheck.com to find registered sex offenders in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. If users search by zip code, they can view a map of their area that pinpoints the exact location of sex offenders.
  3. MapSexOffenders.com: This website urges parents to "protect your family from sex predators" by searching through their database of more than 300,000 offenders. The site also features articles and an educational video that discuss child safety on the Internet.
  4. Vision 20/20: This company provides many services, including automatic alerts that let parents know when their teenager is driving over the speed limit and allow them to monitor a GPS tracking device for members of their family. Vision 20/20 also features a free sex offender search. Users can register with the site to get an automatic alert whenever a new offender moves into the neighborhood.
  5. FamilyBeacon.com: This site gives a history of sex offender laws in addition to providing a comprehensive search. Users who suspect their neighbor of being a sex offender can type in their name or address to find out if they are listed. Otherwise, users can search by zip code or city.

National and Governmental Sites

These websites are organized by national and/or governmental agencies, making your criminal search more official.

  1. National Alert RegistryThe motto of the National Alert Registry is to "be aware, be alert, be safe." Currently, the registry includes over 500,000 listings that include names, addresses and even photos of the sex offenders. Users can register their neighborhood or area of interest with the registry to receive RED ALERTs by e-mail whenever a new name is added.
  2. Megan’s Law Nationwide Registries and Links: This page features a Megan’s Law Report Card, which grades states on how accessible they make sexual predator information to the public and on the number of registrants vs. the number of actual offenders. The site also displays links to sex offender registries by state and provides users with an easy way to report child pornography. Megan’s Law was passed in honor of a New Jersey girl named Megan Kanka, who was raped and murdered in 1994 by a convicted sex offender who lived in her neighborhood. There is a federal Megan’s Law, but some states have chosen to add other amendments and punishments to the law.
  3. Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Registry: This website is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice and lets users search for violent sex offenders who may prey on adults as well as children. There is also a search for general sex offenders who have a criminal past with minors. Users can search by region, state, zip code, name or conduct a nationwide search.

By State

This list includes state registries for states with some of the most populous areas in the country, making it easier for parents and school administrators to quickly find registered sex offenders in their neighborhoods.

  1. Megan’s Law Sex Offenders in California: This site is sponsored by the Office of the Attorney General of California. The site includes more than 33,500 listings of sex offenders and includes their last registered address. More than 30,500 offenders are listed by zip code.
  2. TXDPS Sex Offender Registry: The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program allows searches by name, city and zip code, and by name and city/zip code. There is also a mapping service to show how sex offenders may be spread out in your community. The site features a FAQ page that answers questions like "How does the Texas Department of Public Safety keep track of sex offenders" and more.
  3. New York State Sex Offender Registry: According to this program, sex offenders are ranked as low risk, medium risk and high risk. Only medium and high risk offenders are listed on the website, but there is a phone number listed that parents can call to find information about low risk offenders too. In addition to the search, this site includes links to crime victims assistance, the NYS Most Wanted, Internet safety and more.
  4. Illinois Sex Offender Information: The Illinois Sex Offender Information site clarifies that offenders included in the database may have been convicted of committing or trying to commit an offense against a child, as well as those found not guilty by reason of insanity for a crime against a child or general sex crime. There is also a guide to sex offender registration in Illinois, a link to the Sex Offender Registration Act and other resources. Users can search by last name, zip code, city, and/or county, as well as by child sex offender, adult sex offender or child murderer.

Online

sex offender registries are still controversial, and searching for sex offenders and child murderers in your area will probably enlighten you to the more negative aspects of your neighborhood. It can, however, also give you the tools and information you need to protect your child, set up new boundaries, and better understand your neighbors.