This topic borders on the limits of comfort, as it may go either way: it could refer to you or your neighbor. But having a sexual predator in the neighborhood should be enough to send shivers down the spine of any parent. While we do not want to discredit any person for possible mental deficiencies, it still pays to take caution. Defense, after all, is still the best offense.
There are a lot of clues that can be gathered from different sources to help identify sexual predators.
Knowledge is key. It pays to know your neighbors. Be aware of your neighbors’ identities and practices, and try to know more about recluse ones who seem to shun company. False accusations are very damaging, so try to do background checks as discreetly as possible. Most one-time predators who were victims of circumstance tend to shun company due to the label society has placed on them and there are a lot of documented cases of misjudgments in courts.
Try to get information from local law enforcement. Active and known sexual predators might have records with law enforcement. And some states require that any past convictions or even indictments related to sexual predation be part of permanent record. Repeat offenders are usually monitored by law enforcement and are also required to visit their parole officers.
Keep tabs with law enforcement on any suspected activities. Report any unusual activity from a suspected offender. Be sure to make no sudden obvious moves, though, for they are protected by the law just as you are. Get together and organize a signature campaign if you get news of a repeat offender that tends to spread fear in the neighborhood. Though spying is not a preferable course of action, you and your neighbors can organize or join neighborhood watches for better security and protection.
And in case you discover your neighborhood has known sex offenders, it would be wise to be proactive, without necessarily aggravating the situation.
Report and take action against anything out of the ordinary. Any illegal activities should be reported to proper authorities. Do not directly confront anyone, as you don’t know if they are armed, violent and dangerous. Let the experts handle the situation, and avoid taking excessive risks for your family and yourself. But it helps if you can keep some non-lethal, self-defense equipment at home and while on the street, such as mace, tear gas canisters and tasers, just to be sure.
Educate your kids. The best advice would be to educate your kids and other household companions on the right ways to deal with possible sexual attackers. It will help if you can assure them that they can report to you any incidents involving them and their friends. Enroll your children with self-defense classes, so they know how to react when attacked. The best way to react to these would be to call for help.
Each family member should be aware of the others’ whereabouts. Never enter your home if it seems broken into by burglars or predators who may be waiting. If this is the case, one should seek shelter with trusted neighbors or head for other family members’ homes until the problem is reported to the authorities.