Whether you’re a parent, guardian, concerned family member, online dater, or want to know if there are sex offenders in your area, the internet is the most common place to start a search. Unfortunately, just looking up someone by their name and stats may not produce results. With something as dangerous as a sexual offense, mainly if you have minor children in your life, no stone should be left unturned.
Here are the top ways to seek out sexual predators who have been verified through the legal system and found guilty in a court of law. One thing to remember is that each sex offender is supposed to update their address when they move, but just as with any criminal, some offenders slide through the cracks. Another is that sexual offender lists only show those predators and offenders who have been charged and caught.
The statistics of child abuse are staggering, showing that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys will be victims of child abuse. Equally as concerning, 3 out of 4 sexually abused adolescents are assaulted by someone they know and trust.
Look to the State You Live
In the United States, including British Columbia, now maintain sexual offender registry lists. California is one example of this, after having passed been one of the first to establish a record, after passing “Megan’s Law” to honor a seven-year-old female victim, who was abused and killed by a known predator who moved across the street, without the family’s knowledge.
By accessing each state’s registry, you can find everything from a predator’s name, address, height and weight, charges, and more. On occasion, select details or information about some offenders is only available to law enforcement, not the public. You can find your state’s sexual offender list through the FBI’s informative website, here: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/sex-offender-registry.
Department of Justice
Another option is to head straight to the to public safety resource site published by the U.S. Department of Justice. Instead of going to each state’s list, you can immediately search out all states by name and zip codes, or general location search. The site requires both first and last name be entered, however, if you do opt for the name search (e.g., you cannot search by last name alone).
What If They Aren’t on the List?
One option, if you suspect someone has predatory behaviors but has yet to be caught or charged with a crime, is to do your detective work. If you have enough evidence or genuinely suspect wrongdoing, immediately contact a mandated reporter (teacher, therapist, doctor, social worker, etc.) or law enforcement. What about the people who slide through the cracks but repeatedly give your intuition a bad feeling?
Besides immediately taking steps to protect any minor children they have contact with, you can go to Social Catfish and conduct an algorithm based search of their email addresses, social media accounts, usernames, and more. Look at any of their public profiles for unusual messages, inappropriate conversations with minors, or other red flags. Take screenshots or photos of anything you find which might corroborate your concern. If you make use of Social Catfish’s reverse lookup, the site will continue to compile links and information about your searches, so long as you are an active member.
Check sexual offender sites on a semi-regular basis. There is no telling when a new renter, homeowner, or neighbor will move into your area. Although neighbors are supposed to be notified (and provisions exist about how close predators can live to schools or parks), many times those a few blocks away are unaware of the risk. Another critical time to check is if you are moving to a new home or apartment, as living close to a sex offender may factor into your decision-making process.
While sex offender lists are relevant and helpful, be mindful that new perpetrators are charged daily. No record alone will protect children without incorporating common sense, education, and awareness. Protect all children from those who might have ulterior motives by doing a sexual offender search today!