Sexual Predators in Your Complex?

in Health & Safety on by

Living in proximity to a known sexual offender can be scary, but it’s even more frightening–and more dangerous–if you’re not aware of it. State governments and a variety of watchdog groups offer a wealth of resources for looking up and tracking sexual offenders in your area. Use these resources to become and remain aware of who your neighbors are, and teach any children in your household what to do if a stranger approaches them.

Step one: Know your neighbors

You can use a variety of websites, including Family Watchdog, Criminal Check, or sexoffender.com to look up sexual predators in your area. The pages will give you information including the individual’s address, physical description, and prior convictions. Family Watchdog offers pictures of almost all offenders, which is a particularly useful service. You can also contact your local police department to get more information on local offenders and their locations.

Some of the websites that offer these stats on criminals also partner with criminal information sites such as Intelius in order to offer information seekers the opportunity to purchase full background reports on previous offenders. The information available for free should be enough in most situations, but if you have special concerns, definitely look into getting more facts about offenders in your neighborhood. Other websites provide listings of local offices that can provide updates about sexual offenders’ whereabouts.

On most sexual predator information sites, you can register to receive updates when information changes for offenders in your area. There are usually several registration levels, some of which are free, some of which cost a nominal amount. The free information is plentiful, but if you have any concerns, you may wish to register to receive more specialized and detailed updates.

Step two: Teach your children well

It’s not enough to teach youngsters that strangers are “bad.” This mysterious admonition may only serve to arouse childish curiosity about new people. You need to teach your children safety skills, including how to react if a stranger approaches them. Children should know how to dial 911, be able to dial your home phone number, and know their home address. They should know never to go anywhere or with anyone unless you’ve approved it beforehand, and you should teach them to run, scream, and attract attention if anyone tries to force them to do anything. Saying no to a stranger is one of the best skills your child can learn. Kids also need to know to avoid unfamiliar and poorly lit areas and going anywhere alone. Staying with friends and a trusted adult is the first step toward safety. A super-loud child safety alarm can help protect your children from predators. The AmberWatch, when activated, emits a signal which can be heard from over a football field away.

Since the Internet is a major forum for sexual offenders, teach your children some internet safety skills. Children should never give out their pictures, last names or physical whereabouts online, and they should stop chatting with anyone who makes inappropriate comments.

An apartment living setup brings you and your neighbors closer than regular housing, and can force you to use some common areas, like the pool, mailroom, and laundry room. Though you may be tempted to treat your apartment complex like part of your home, remember that even the most secure complex can be accessed by those who don’t belong, and your neighbors may have histories they’d rather keep under wraps. Don’t let your children wander your apartment complex unattended—make sure they always have a buddy—even better, an adult—to accompany them.

Step three: Stay informed

It’s not enough to do a one-time investigation into the criminal backgrounds of your neighbors. New people are constantly moving into and out of neighborhoods, and as a concerned parent—or just a concerned individual—you need to stay informed about who lives nearby. Register for periodic updates from one of the sexual offender tracking sites, or ask your local police station what you can to do get updates about offenders in your area. Don’t be caught off guard by a questionable new neighbor—know when someone with a record is moving in, and act with appropriate caution.

Once you’re informed, it’s important not to be antagonistic to the individual. It will be impossible for an offender to be incorporated into normal society if he or she is ostracized by everyone around him or her. Be cautious, but not cruel. If you notice any suspicious behavior, report it immediately, but let the police deal with addressing any issues. Don’t take the law into your own hands, but do defend your own safety and that of your family and friends. Information is on your side, so use it, but don’t abuse it. The more you know, the safer you can be.

12 Responses to “Sexual Predators in Your Complex?”

  1. September 20, 2006 at 4:21 pm, Guest said:

    well cant i break lease without paying the rest of the money since i want be there.there is sexual preditors in the park lots where i live.I was also came home to hear the other neighbors had to call the police because there was a man messing with the kids i have a 5 and 2 also 9 months old

    Reply

  2. January 12, 2007 at 5:35 pm, Guest said:

    How do I get free information on criminal histories of sex offenders in my neighborhood. The list is too extensive to pay $25 a record. How do I know who to look out for?

    Reply

  3. January 14, 2007 at 5:31 pm, Guest said:

    I think if there is a sexual predator living next door to you then you should be able to break your lease. you shouldn’t have to live next to someone like that, exspecially if you have kids.

    Reply

  4. January 29, 2007 at 2:25 pm, Guest said:

    Also, please remember that those that are guilty, but have not faced their court dates/sentencing yet will not show up on these lists. My daughter was a victim and it has been a year and a half and we still have not had our trial. The accused bonded out in a few short hours and has moved three times in this time period. I wish his neighbors knew!!

    Reply

  5. January 31, 2007 at 2:35 pm, Guest said:

    The government can’t say where child predators can and can’t live…..but no one can make you live next to them!
    Absolutely no one!

    Reply

  6. March 11, 2007 at 11:17 pm, Guest said:

    There should be no sexual preditors living much less living next to your family, your neighborhood and the general public. wake up.

    Reply

  7. July 07, 2007 at 7:33 pm, Guest said:

    Fortunately, the apartment complex that I’m moving into runs criminal background checks on all applicants and if something pops, they won’t let the person move in. Of course, that’s only effective on those predators that have been caught, but at least it’s a preventive measure.

    Reply

  8. January 05, 2008 at 7:44 pm, Guest said:

    WOW!!! that sounds scary i would leave and tell your friends to leave too.!!!!:(:(:(:(:(

    Reply

  9. June 29, 2008 at 5:22 pm, Guest said:

    Well I would break my lease an say F them. Put it on my credit report all they want. My safety is more important. And while I’m on that subject a sex offender, murderer, or anyone else is like a cockroach they have no useable place on this earth. So why not rid ourselves of them. F that we all have rights, if you are a sex offender, murderer, what ever you have no rights, you’re not human and the government should be allowed to do whatever they want to them. GO some where with that discrimination mess.

    Reply

  10. January 21, 2009 at 5:37 am, Guest said:

    Well you are all god are you not? you rush to judgement before you know the facts not all sexual predators was involved with kids and some take plea deals so they to can be with there family wich have nothin to do with kids maybe sleeping with a hooker gets you the tag as well..for sure it does

    Reply

  11. June 20, 2009 at 1:57 pm, Miss Anthrope said:

    Just found out that the landlord has allowed 3 sexual predators – all of them with offenses against children under the age of 13 and all of them recently released from prison. First will be a campaign with the neighborhood to drive the perverts out – if it does not work we are out of here –

    Reply

  12. September 09, 2009 at 3:13 pm, malika said:

    MAN THEY ALL NEED TO PUT UNDER THE DAMN JAIL AND I DON’T CARE IF IT’S DONE TO A CHILD OR AN ADULT IT’S WRONG AND THEY MAKE SURE THEY PUT GANG MEMBERS AND PEOLPLE ASSOCIATED WITH GANG MEMBERS SUCH A HARD TIME BUT NOT THESE DAMN PREDATORS.i JUST DON’T GET IT AND YES I AM VICTIM AND MY CHILD AND NOTHING HAPPENED.

    Reply

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