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The kids are alright -- for now

A while ago, I linked to one of the most useful sites on the web for parents -- mapsexoffenders.com. Someone far more clever than I got the bright idea of combining states' online registry of sex offenders and Google Maps into a single site where the residents of 42 states can plug in their address and get a representation of every registered sex offender in their neighborhood. For example, when I lived in Manchester, I had 75 of them within a couple blocks of me -- including two across the street. Now in my new neighborhood, there are only a couple. (Having no children, it's purely an academic curiosity for me.)

Well, a friend of mine recently discovered that there was a registered sex offender in his neighborhood. In fact, right around the corner, and his family has had dealings with him before -- not pleasant ones. His kids described him as "creepy," and he was on the one hand glad his kids' instincts were correct, while horrified to discover just how well-founded they were.

So now my friend has a dilemma. His kids now know to stay the hell away from this dirtbag, and to do the same for their friends. But what are my friend's responsibilities in this area? He would like to look out for his neighbors (most specifically, his neighbor's kids), but at the same time doesn't want to become the focus of this slimeball's anger.

One idea was anonymous flyers posted around the neighborhood. I think that might be the best solution, but I promised him I'd toss out the situation to you fine folks and see just what your ideas would be.

And no, the answer cannot involve Rottweilers, shotguns, or wood chippers.

Comments (30)

Flyers leave a trail.... (Below threshold)

Flyers leave a trail.

Word of mouth. All he has to do is tell one mother. The rest will take care of itself.

I think we need to talk wit... (Below threshold)

I think we need to talk with him, communicate, and figure out what his feelings are, and see how our country and govt have failed him.

Heh. I think you're exactly... (Below threshold)

Heh. I think you're exactly right, Wavemaker.

I'd only add, give her look-up page addy as well.

Honestly though, I'd send a... (Below threshold)

Honestly though, I'd send a post card with website info to all in the the neighborhood(including the scumbag), from a zip code far away.

Let him know that everyone knows, and his shame will probably drive him away(then of course get his new address, and let new neighbors know).

And no, the answer cannot i... (Below threshold)

And no, the answer cannot involve Rottweilers, shotguns, or wood chippers.

I am not all that smart, what is worg with those solutions?

I agree with Wavemaker, and... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

I agree with Wavemaker, and was about to suggest the same thing. Start with a couple of phone calls. The word will spread like wildfire.

My first thought was this: ... (Below threshold)

My first thought was this: Does anyone know the legal rights of the registered sex offender? In other words, how far can one go to inform the neighbors before one has the ACLU on the doorstep? We saw a sign once over in Lebanon Maine that was about 8 feet across which read "Registered Sex Offender Next Door - BEWARE" with a huge arrow pointing toward the offender's house. Lebanon Maine has no local police force, so of course nothing was done to the signmaker. But is that a legal (if somewhat over the top) approach? Interesting to find out - I have a lot of kids and want them all safe and sound.

I once lived in a neighborh... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

I once lived in a neighborhood that started a homeowners group when it was realized that perv's were close. Almost everyone has one or two nearby but don't know about it. We used the pretext of collecting money to maintain common areas.

Anyway, we set up a deal with the police and they would send an officer by every so often to speak, give tips, updates on local crime, etc. In our case, the police had all sorts of stuff that didn't make the registry, some of which was off the record I think.

As part of the resulting newsletter they/we would include a regular perv update, which, coming from the police, gave everyone cover. It was tough on the perv's but it was decided that it was good protection to have them know they were identified.

Another thing we did was to list every potential association member as a pretext to getting all the names. Frequently, offenders fail to register when they move and the names are valuable info to help plug that gap. Extreme reluctance to give up a name is a major warning signal.

The unofficial, off-the-record stuff was passed on by the mothers faster than the newsletter.

Why not put flyers up...but... (Below threshold)

Why not put flyers up...but instead of identifying the creep by name, display the website and simply write "Do you know who is in your neighborhood? Check out mapsexpoffenders.com"

Okay, if rotweillers are ou... (Below threshold)

Okay, if rotweillers are out, how about a thousand angry chihuahuas ?

Seriously though, I'd mail out postcards with the mapsexoffenders.com address and a mention that there are convicted sex offenders living in the area and that all parents are advised to educate themselves in order to protect their children. All it takes then is for a few people to follow through to find out who's in the area and the word is out to beware. It's anonymous (so as not to make yourself a target of the psycho) and it doesn't specifically target the sex offender.

If there was the desire for stronger anonymity, drive to a neighboring town to mail the post cards so the postal stamp won't show the local zip code.

All sex offenders' whereabo... (Below threshold)

All sex offenders' whereabouts are public information, so I don't see how putting up fliers in the neighborhood violates this sex offender's rights. Divorce records are public record as well, and putting up fliers announcing someone's divorce wouldn't violate the divorced person's rights either although it would be in poor taste. In the case of the sex offender, your friend would be doing a public service.

Kim,I have to agree ... (Below threshold)

I have to agree with you on your 08:39 post. It is public information. The ex-president of our neighborhood association had a map with red stick pins in it showing the location of sex offenders, and he kept it up to date. It made a lot of people know who was living in their neighborhood, and the Sheriffs dept here has a web site with the class 2 and 3 offenders, picture, address, etc.

Well, since you ix-nayed pl... (Below threshold)

Well, since you ix-nayed plan A. Dobermans, rifles, and roto-tillers.

But, honestly, the postcards to everyone in the neighborhood (including to your friend, if he's that worried) strikes me as the best way. That way your friend can also bring it up with neighbors and blame it on the postcard.

Fear is what allows these p... (Below threshold)

Fear is what allows these people to operate. I recently found one of the S.O's address in the neighborhood. I EMailed the information, including the picture from the site to every neighbor (that had email). I printed the page and gave it to others. Without a doubt he knows who fingered him. Do I worry about him, no? Unlike some, I believe in the second amendment and follow it, including keeping an up to date CWP. Sorry for you folks that live in totally communist states that have removed your consitiutional rights to self protection. I guess you'll have to depend on 9-11 and they will arrive in 30 minutes or more to retrieve your body. Not the individual police officers fault, there just aren't enough of them to handle the criminals the liberal judges allow to walk the streets. Revolving door criminal invaders from south of the border are only a small percentage of the criminals using the merry go round door.

Global warming has spread a hard freeze across parts of the South. Strawberry crop in danger. Algor-abge's home state stands to lose millions of dollars worth of crops.

I'd agree with pursuing the... (Below threshold)

I'd agree with pursuing the issue through the neighborhood association.

Well, this is not going to ... (Below threshold)

Well, this is not going to be popular, but I would say, forget the publically posted flyers, or signs pointing out where he lives, or things of that nature. One of the principles of the rule of law is that everyone, even filthy, child-molesting scumbags, have the right to live their lives in peace, as long as they're not breaking any laws. My concern is that such flyers would be an invitation to violence. I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't mind taking a shot at one of these creeps, especially if they had been so victimized or knew someone who had been.

Yeesh, I'm starting to sound like a liberal...

The neighborhood needs to know about this guy, but I think discretion is called for. As someone else has pointed out, a couple of phone calls to mothers on the block would be enough to get the ball rolling. And make sure that every new family who moves into the neighborhood is informed. That is what I would recommend.

Of course, before relying o... (Below threshold)

Of course, before relying on sites like this for drastic action (or much of anything at all), you might remember that some of those "red flags" are, well, crap.

"Registered sex offenders" aren't exactly the most stable or honest folks (they tend to move around, often not leaving change-of-address cards, so the next guy who moves in has a little red flag on his brand-new home, and panicky folks freak out).

Not to mention, of course, that this is based off of a government-run database, so assuming 100% accuracy is, well, really stupid. You end up with old addresses (as above), or "RSOs" who did such eeeevil things as urinating in public at 3 AM behind a dumpster because they were celebrating their 21st birthday a bit too much ("public exposure," according to the cops - this was a news story last year)...

I would add tell your child... (Below threshold)

I would add tell your children to stay away from the perv and his/her house.

Information is power. The ... (Below threshold)

Information is power. The easiest way is for the freind to pass the information to parents of the neighborhood kids that his kids play with. Then, keep an eye on the person.

NO, I'm not suggesting stalking. Just maintain situational awareness. Be aware of whether or not he tries to approach kids, is he only out in his yard when kids are getting home from school, does he linger around the bus stop, even though not approaching the kids etc, does he try to look vauguely like he is waiting to drop kids off, pick them up etc. Parents should try to be aware of these kinds of activities in the neighborhood whether or not there are registrered S.O. living there. There are plenty of non-registered, non-convicted sex offenders and nere'do-wells around to make it a worthy exercise.

Keeping your children safe is not paranoia.

Most convicted predators ha... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Most convicted predators have conditions on where they may live. Have your friend contact the Sheriff and ask about whether he is allowed to be where he is, and contact any HOA or Neighborhood Watch. They can and do monitor just this kind of situation, because predators are a known threat.

Use the law; it's on your side.

I agree about the fliers be... (Below threshold)

I agree about the fliers being a good idea... with one caveat. Encourage your neighbors to do research. Almost all sex offender websites list the particular crime as well. For instance it's good to to know about the child rapist next door that has 10 counts of abuse but also that the sex offender label may vary. e.g my next door neighbor who is a registered SO because he was 19 and his girlfriend 16. Not quite the same as the pervert rapist.

Better yet, before you go a... (Below threshold)

Better yet, before you go all out on this, do the research yourself Jay Tea. If, as Joe says, these people had to register because of something like what Joe describes, that's one thing. I very much suspect, however, that MOST pervs are a whole lot more dangerous to the kids and as far as I'm concerned, the sky's the limit when it comes to protecting them.

By the way, has Jessica's law been passed in NH? I know Vermont is blocking it.

And I wholeheartedly agree.... (Below threshold)

And I wholeheartedly agree. Most SO's are decidedly on the dangerous, perverted side. But like all things concerning citizen actions its always good to do your homework. A SO that like's to watch soccer moms undress through a window, while sick, is probably not likely to molest your 10 year old. Though it should be noted that sex offenders have been shown clinically to have a good probability of escalation. Cheers.

We mapped a perv a few hous... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

We mapped a perv a few houses down. His home is surrounded by homes that have families with kids.

I typed up a "things you should be aware of" letter (no names, just how to log on to the Megan's Law website and pull up the perv map), walked around and got the addresses of the closest 100 neighbors, sealed and stamped every single one, and sent a copy to the homeowners association as well. Signed it "A Concerned Neighbor".

Funny, kids stopped playing around that house.

1 - Do make sure you know w... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

1 - Do make sure you know what he's on the registry for, as other people have already mentioned. I recall a case where someone learned their neighbor was on a registry, and confronted them about it. Turns out it was one of those 19 - 16 type things; the parents didn't approve of him, and the lady has since been his wife for many years.

2 - I don't know about your state, but mine specifically warns about any sort of harrassment of the registered offenders. I think flyers are a bad idea; just use a quiet word to a few neighbors.

Assming the guy is a kiddy ... (Below threshold)

Assming the guy is a kiddy diddler, I always prefer a direct approach. First, I would inform someone on the local PTA board. That will get the word spread among the right people. Second, I would go and talk to the bastard myself. I'ld let him know that we are aware of his status and that we'll be watching for any suspicious activity around his house. I'ld also let him know that if we see his light on for Halloween or any kid near his door at any other time that all hell will break loose.

There have already been cas... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

There have already been cases where innocent people have been identified as sex offenders using fliers. Apparently some people feel the public outing of sex offenders gives them an opportunity to get even with people they have a grudge against.

Even a web site is not a sure thing because anyone can make a web site that looks like that of some official organization and then add in your name as a sex offender.

Why not use the shot guns e... (Below threshold)

Why not use the shot guns etc.. This guy is a sex offender - e more don't you people get it. He is the greatest piece of slimeball creep that ever existed. Let's make sure that he is never given a chance to integrate into the community - keep him scared and running. That way he will be more likely to reoffend and that will prove what a slimeball he is, and we will feel better.

Oh yeah and remember that at most 3 per cent (in some states it is less than 1 percent) of all sexual offences against children are committed by convicted sex offenders. So if we kill all the sex offenders we will reduce the risk of a child being a victim by one or two percent.

A little over 20 percent of all children who will be the victims of sexual abuse next year will be offened against by their fathers - so we should kill all the dad's too, that will reduce the risk of children being the victims of sexual abuse by another 20 percent, even better than killing all the sex offenders. And since almost half of all child murders are committed by the child's mother, if we kill all the mothers we will reduce the risk of our children being murdered by half. Then we will have done something really substantial to protect our children.

If we kill anyone who is a stranger it will make use all more safe.

In fact why don't we just kill everyone, it will make us all feel much better.

I got the name of someone i... (Below threshold)

I got the name of someone in Harrison, Arkansas who put out what I was told was a very useful newsletter on do-it-yourself/back-to-nature type stuff. He sent me several back issues after I called him and I then realized that while he did have some useful stuff, his focus was a bit off. In one newsletter someone asked the same question you asked, what to do about a pedophile that just moved in to the neighborhood. The survivalist's answer was to reference a previous newsletter's instructions on building a one-use, throw-away shotgun, made out of an iron pipe, some springs, etc.

It was later that I learned that the terrorists who bombed the WTC the first time, used this guy's newsletters to learn how to build their bombs. Sounded like such a congenial guy on the phone, too.

I actually decided to email... (Below threshold)

I actually decided to email the State of Maine after reading this post, and they responded that sex offender registry information is public info, and that I would have every right to hand out flyers or direct people to their website. Not sure if this holds true in other states, but Maine is very aggressive about protecting kids. Also, the maine site clearly states the particular crime, so you know what you are up against - to some degree.






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