Concerned about sex offenders in your neighborhood?
It’s incredibly unlikely that a stranger will directly target you or your family, but knowing more about criminals in your area can help you make smart decisions and protect your loved ones.
Below you’ll learn how to investigate your own neighborhood and get tips for keeping yourself and your family safe.
Interested in more than just your neighborhood? Find out where your home state ranks when compared to the rest of the country. We’ve researched all 50 states and found the ones with the most, and fewest, sex offenders per capita.
Check for sex offenders in your neighborhood
Family Watchdog makes it easy to quickly check out your current or future neighborhood for free. You can search by ZIP code, address, or school name. If you know you’re looking for someone specific, you can search by their name as well. Family Watchdog, like many similar sites, pulls its information from public records, so keep in mind that the results could be out of date or incomplete depending on state law.
If you use the ZIP code search, Family Watchdog will produce a map of that area with marks for individual offenders and their addresses. So if you notice the house down the street is on the list, you can click on that result to see a name, photo, and physical description of the offender who lives there. You can also check out the charges filed to see how serious the crime was.
We should note that there are often many advertisements on the page for background check services. And while a background check might be helpful, the advertisements are certainly annoying.
National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW)
The Department of Justice’s NSOPW is similar to Family Watchdog. You can search by name, ZIP code, or address.
If you search by ZIP code, NSOPW provides you with a list that includes names, photos, and addresses instead of showing you a map. If you want to see the charges, click on the person’s name. That will take you to a separate site showing the individual’s arrest records and other details.
This site is a little less helpful than Family Watchdog because it doesn’t show you offenders on a map, but it’s still a good source of information, and the page doesn’t have annoying advertisements that make it harder to sort through the data.
Sex offenders in your state
Oregon has the most sex offenders per capita with 679 sex offenders per 100,000 residents. Arkansas is close behind with just under 550 offenders per 100,000 residents.
Our data found that the states with the highest number of offenders per capita are as follows:
- South Dakota
Which states have the fewest sex offenders per capita?
Maryland, on the other hand, has fewer sex offenders per capita than any other state—about 100 offenders per 100,000 residents.
These are the states with the fewest offenders per capita:
43. New Mexico
42. New Jersey
To come up with our rankings, we used a report compiled by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to create our ranking. The report obtained data on the number of registered sex offenders in each state by surveying the individual sex offender registries for each state. The total number of offenders was compared with census data to determine the number of sex offenders per 100,000 total population in the state.
What should I do if there are sex offenders near me?
Unfortunately, chances are good that sex offenders live near you no matter where you are in the US. While many of the people on the registry aren’t a threat to you or your family, it’s smart to take precautions.
We recommend the following:
- Get to know your neighbors before letting your children visit their home.
- Don’t let your kids travel alone to or from school. Drive them yourself, arrange for a ride, send them on a school bus, or make sure they’re walking with a group.
- Install security cameras and motion sensor lights outside your home so you can always see who is coming and going.
- Consider carrying small self-defense items if you’re running or walking alone—especially when it’s dark out.
Protecting yourself and your family
Staying safe and protecting your children is easier when you know what you’re up against. For more safety and security advice, follow us on Facebook.