In 1990, Washington State’s Community Protection Act included America’s first law authorizing public notification when dangerous sex offenders are released into the community. However, it was the brutal 1994 rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka that prompted the public demand for broad based community notification. More information on Megan's law and subsequent legislation can be found on the KlassKids Foundation website.
Family Watchdog provides the following statistics:
- 1 of 5 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will be sexually molested before their 18th birthday.
- The typical sexual predator will assault 117 times before being caught.
- The re-arrest rate for convicted child molesters is 52%.
"If only I had known!" "If only..."
Become knowledgeable by accessing the FBI's Crimes Against Children website, which has a list of all state sites, along with a link to the National Sex Offender Registry. The information on the national site is actually taken from the individual state sites. It is recommended that you link to the respective state site for local information since their information is more current and complete. The national site is best used to search for a NAME across state lines.
Know the laws and definitions of your state since the rules vary from state to state. Family Watchdog has put together a listing of all state laws and provides a website with links to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Map locations. Since the information above provides addresses, it maybe more meaningful to see where the sex offenders live and work with their locations plotted on a map. Family Watchdog's website provides this FREE mapping feature by incorporating published data on a Google map. Just enter a location on their "find offenders (search by location)" entry form on their home page and click the search button. Pay special attention to the map legend on the left side to determine the meaning of the color squares (some depict schools and parks, etc.).
Best source of information as to "what is going on" is your local law enforcement agency. These "sworn" to protect individuals really do have a passion to assist in the protection of the public. USACOPS is a website with data on all the agencies which have a law enforcement role in the country and is a convenient way to learn who to call for more information on local sex offenders.
Be proactive in teaching appropriate skills to your family (especially children) on avoidance and what to do. John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted, and Julie Clark, creator of Baby Einstein, are promoting a FREE "Stranger Safety Home Guide" (pdf file 3mb), "Everything you need to have an awesome family discussion with your kids about safety!" The site also sells the Safe Side award winning instruction DVDs. [Store and price list]
Help to inform others. Being a real estate agent and discussing properties, it is always about location, location, location. But individual safety and the safety of a family is most important. A website "A Concern for Safety, Alabama's Criminal Sex Offender's Registry" was created by the author to inform local residences. Feel free to copy and include a similar page in your website.
Myth: "The majority of sexual offenders are caught, convicted, and in prison."
Fact: Only a fraction of those who commit sexual assault are apprehended and convicted for their crimes. Most convicted sex offenders eventually are released to the community under probation or parole supervision. ("Myths and Facts About Sex Offenders," August 2000, Center for Sex Offender Management, the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.)