Safety from Registered Sex Offenders
You’ve likely heard how important it is to be aware of any registered sex offenders who live in your neighborhood. Federal law requires that anyone convicted of a sex crime must register in the state where they live, and they have to maintain a current address.
You can learn more at the National Sex Offender Public Website; keep in mind, however, that in the word of the site, “Anyone who uses this information to injure, harass or commit a criminal act against any person may be subject to criminal prosecution.”
What is a registered sex offender?
Anyone convicted of a crime that involves a sexual act is considered a sex offender. The crimes can include acts ranging from sexting to rape.
How can I tell who the sex offenders are?
It’s hard to tell who the registered sex offenders are, because they look like everyone else.
Using a personal safety app is another way to keep up with who has moved into your apartment building or in your neighborhood. If the person is a registered sex offender, you’ll know it.
Although the recidivism rate for sex offenders is fairly low (13%) compared to assault (67%); dropping your guard is not something most people are willing to do.
What do you tell your kids?
While you don’t want your kids to develop a fear of strangers, you certainly want them to be cautious.
Teach your children boundaries. Explain to them what role someone they know might play in their lives – a teacher, for example is supposed to teach and be supportive. An adult crosses the line when they try to do more than that role.
Kids also need to know that keeping unsafe secrets is not okay. A pedophile will often say, “This is a secret just between us.” Talk to your children regularly, and ask if there is anything they want to tell you.
Know who your children are with. If it seems weird, it probably is.
How can you keep yourself safe?
Set your own boundaries – and don’t give in. Have in your mind a clear picture of what is and is not okay. If you don’t want to be alone with a stranger, have a friend with you. If you are not okay with someone touching your arm while he is talking to you, let him know. These are your boundaries, and you have a right to set them.
And finally, say it like you mean it. If someone has crossed the boundary you set, say, “Stop that!” or “Get your hands off me!” as loudly as you can.
Awareness is everything. Pay attention to your surroundings whether you are walking in the park or through the parking lot to your car. Avoid areas you know to be unsafe, especially at night, or don’t travel alone.
And most importantly, use preventative measures whenever possible. Know where the sex offenders are before they know where to find you. Download a personal safety app like MyGuard that will alert you to the presence of sex offenders.