FAQs on the Sex Offender Registry

What Can I Do About Sex Offenders in My Neighborhood?

Discovering that a convicted sex offender is living in your neighborhood can stir a range of feelings – fear, anger, lack of safety, loss of control. Don’t panic! Sometimes, just having more information can diminish those feelings. There really are many things you can do to make the situation more manageable. Remind yourself and your neighbors that it’s in everyone’s best interest that this person succeeds in becoming a safe member of your community. Truth is, they probably want to succeed as well. Join with others to learn the best actions to take to keep everyone safe. 

How Do I Search the Sex Offender Registry?

Sex Offender Registryi Laws have been established as one part of the supervision of individuals who have moved back into communities after being convicted of sex crimes against adults or children. The level of information available varies by state and is posted to the internet. To access available information go to one of the following sites:

To search the national sex offender registryi:

US Department of Justice Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website
Visit prevention resources on this site.

To search state sex offender registries:

US Federal Bureau of Investigation Crimes Against Children Program:

I Checked the Registry and Found Someone in My Neighborhood, Now What?

A neighbor tells you about a “pedophile down the street”, you learn of a “sexual predator” who’s a member of your faith community, the local paper reports on “child molesters hanging around at your kid’s school" –what can you do?

You thought your neighborhood was pretty safe. Suddenly, your sense of security is shaken. Media stereotypes about people who sexually abuse children can make it all seem overwhelming.

You needn’t be overwhelmed. Start by learning the facts. Accurate information about the situation can help you turn fear into confidence that you really can keep your family safe. Here are some other things you can do to help make you feel secure again.

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What About People Who Sexually Abuse Children Who Are NOT on the Registry?

The registry lists represent a small proportion of sex offenders in any community, since most sexual abuse, nearly 88 percent, is never reported. So, the police and the courts can't warn us about the people responsible for most of the abuse that is committed across the United States. They don’t know who they are. But most likely, we do. Chances are, those most at risk to abuse our children are people we know in our families and in our community, who have horribly lost control.

It's hard to face that someone we know - and even love - might be sexually abusing a child. Learn the "Warning Signs" for what to look for in adults or in the adult/child interactions that may give you a sense if there is reason for concern or questions. If you have questions or would like resources or guidance for responding to a specific situation, go to our Online Help Center, http://GetHelp.StopItNow.org.

How Have Others Responded to Someone on the Registry Living in Their Neighborhood?

Learn how one community member took action to respond to concerns over sex offenders in his community...

"I have an interesting tale to tell about how I brought my work home earlier this year. My next door neighbor told me she had learned from another neighbor there was a Level 2 and a Level 3 sex offender living in the neighborhood. Police had printed up flyers about these two men and given them to the block watch captain. Since both of these offenders had molested kids, the block watch captain distributed them to neighbors on his block that had children. She told me other neighbors were confused and upset about the prospect of having high risk child molesters living in their neighborhood. She’d wondered if I would be willing to help out...."

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What is Law Enforcement Doing to Keep Our Communities Safe?

Specialized approaches to sex offender managementi have been developed around the country. The Center for Sex Offender Managementi (CSOM) has identified key elements of sex offender managementi which focus on the prevention of future victimization and the protection of victims and the community. These include collaboration and frequent information sharing among law enforcement officers, victim advocates, treatment providers and others involved in the supervision of sex offenders. For more information on this approach as well as definitions and facts about sex offenders and sex offender managementi, go to CSOM's website.