Halloween is supposed to be a spooky time for kids. It isn’t supposed to be frightening for
parents but it can be. Once kids reach a certain age they don’t want their parents tagging along
from house to house. Kids want to be with their friends to roam the neighborhoods on their own. That’s probably fine unless parents don’t know the neighbors.
The Department of Justice says there are some 780,000 convicted sex offenders released and
living in neighborhoods across the country. Convicted felons of rape, possession of child
pornography, assault on a child, and other crimes of a sexual nature. While some states prohibit
convicted sex offenders from handing out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters that doesn’t
necessarily mean that kids won’t knock on their doors. Parents who are concerned about their
children approaching the home of a sexual predator should arm themselves with information on
who’s living nearby.
The Department of Justice makes it easy to find out that information on a website,
www.nsopw.gov. NSOPW stands for “National Sex Offender Public Website but was renamed
the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website to honor the memory of Dru Sjodin who
was kidnapped and murdered in North Dakota in 2003. There’s also a smartphone app for iPhone and Android. To search the registry, you can simply enter a name, city, county, or zip code to see all sex offenders who are required to register their address.
Each home address is marked and by tapping the screen you can see the names, ages, and
mug shots of each convicted offender.
By tapping on a name you can see details on the crime
for which they were convicted, other criminal history, place of employment, the type of vehicle
they drive, any distinguishable features such as tattoos and scars, and any aliases they are
known to use. All of that information is gathered from each state’s database of offenders.
Some states also include a description or details of their crime. NSOPW is a free app for all smartphones.