Children falling victim to a sexual predator is any parent’s worst nightmare. But, how can you possibly know if there are sex offenders living in your neighborhood? It’s not like you can simply spot a sex offender walking down the street. The answer is simple: information. By ensuring you have up-to-date information on the people in your community, you can protect your kids and give yourself peace of mind.
- 1 What Is a Sex Offender?
- 2 What Is the Sex Offender Register?
- 3 How to Find Out if There Is a Sex Offender in My Neighborhood?
- 4 Best Background Checking Site to Help You Locate Sex Offenders
- 5 Why Aren’t Background Checks Free?
- 6 Conclusion
The best way to acquire this information is to use a background checking service. These are websites which can trawl through mountains of public information about anyone. Criminal records and sex offenders registries are all fair game for this research. After all, this information is held in the public domain for a good reason: to help law enforcement keep an eye on convicted predators. What’s more, this data is made public to enable ordinary people to maintain their own vigilance against dangerous criminals.
An online background check is the quickest and simplest way to access all of this information. In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know to run one.
What Is a Sex Offender?
A sex offender is defined as someone who has been convicted in a court of law for any kind of sexual offense. This can mean committing lewd acts, sexual conduct with a minor, molestation and rape. It can even mean things like murder or kidnapping if a court found there to be a sexual motive for the crime.
Advances in technology like DNA testing has enabled law enforcement agents to catch higher numbers of sex offenders than ever before. If convicted, most will have to serve time in jail. But many will, sooner or later, be released back into the community. No doubt some of these people will make a genuine attempt at reform, and generally present no threat to the communities they live in. However, others are beyond remorse, and may repeatedly strike out as the seemingly trusted neighbor of friend turned dangerous predator.
For this reason, it is crucial to take preventative steps to ensure you know just who is a potential threat to your family by running a comprehensive background check on those whom you suspect.
What Is the Sex Offender Register?
When a convicted sex offender is released from jail, they are required to sign up to both state and federal sex offender registers. The registers are intended to give law enforcement agents clear knowledge of where sex offenders are based. These registers require people to provide a detailed range of personal information, including dates of birth, social security numbers, car registrations, fingerprints, and a DNA sample. If they change their permanent residence, they are required to update the register. What’s more, they will also have to re-register every year to keep their information current.
Some individuals may also have further restrictions placed upon them. For example, they may not be able to go within a certain distance of the area where their offense took place or their victim. Some are restricted from coming within a certain distance of playgrounds or schools, while others still may be under a curfew.
But while law enforcement agencies will know all of this, the regular people living alongside them may not. For many, not knowing if there is such a dangerous offender living in their neighborhood is a terrifying prospect.
How to Find Out if There Is a Sex Offender in My Neighborhood?
There are several reasons why you might want to find out if there is a sex offender living near you. Perhaps you are moving to a new neighborhood and as you don’t know anyone, and are seeking peace of mind. Or, maybe there are rumors or suspicions about someone living close to you. Whatever the reason, it will be reassuring to know that there is a simple way to find out the answer. All you need to do is use a background checking service.
Much of the information held on sex offender registers is available in the public domain. This means that you can easily identify if someone living close to you has registered. There are also other publicly available records, such as court transcripts and criminal records, which are also available to the public.
Searching through these data sources manually, however, can be a time-consuming and laborious task. But fortunately, there are now a whole host of websites which can do the job for you. Often it will only take them a few minutes to deliver results too. They are called background checking sites, and a quick internet search will reveal that there are dozens of them out there. But which is the best site to use to find out if there is a sex offender in your neighborhood?
Best Background Checking Site to Help You Locate Sex Offenders
Choosing a background checking site can feel like taking a shot in the dark. There are a lot of them and many look very similar. Needless to say, they all claim to be the best around too. To help you sort the wheat from the chaff, we have identified what we believe are the core criteria most people will be looking for:
- Detailed research – Some sites will offer a more thorough and diligent research service than others. To be sure you are getting a full picture, you need to choose a site which offers a high quality of research.
- Fast results – Most users want to get quick answers, but response times can vary. The very best sites should be able to deliver basic results in minutes and a full character profile in no more than 4 or 5 working days.
- Accurate and comprehensible reports – The final report is the all-important factor, but the quality of these documents can vary markedly from site to site. All the best sites should deliver accurate reports that easy to read and understand.
- Search Customization – You may not know much about the person you are worried about, but don’t let that worry you. The best background checking sites can run accurate checks based on a bare minimum of information provided by you.
- Usable dashboard – Most sites offer an online dashboard for users to manage their searches, reports, and other data. But the quality and usability of these dashboards can vary markedly. The best ones around are simple, intuitive to use, and well designed.
- Mobile apps – More and more users access online services on the go, so being able to manage your background check on a mobile device is important. The top sites now offer mobile apps as standard.
- Good Customer Support – If you encounter any problems with your search or have questions about results, you will need a reliable and helpful customer support service to be readily available.
We should note at this point that there are no background checking sites which can guarantee that all of the information they pull up is 100% accurate. Mistakes do happen, after all. But with the very best sites, these errors are very much the exception rather than the rule. When checking for sex offenders in your area, this is a risk you want to minimize.
BeenVerified offers a great all-round service and should have no problem uncovering details about sex offenders in your area. They offer a two-tier pricing structure. At the basic rate, BeenVerified can search through hundreds of different information sources including sex offender registers and criminal records, as well as financial records, property reports, social media data, address history, and so on. For a higher price, their premium service will search through even more sources. They will also send a runner to courthouses to seek out more detailed criminal records.
Their final reports are well designed and easy to read, as is their online dashboard, which has a very intuitive and user-friendly feel. You can also manage all of your searches via their iOS or Android apps too. Meanwhile, the BeenVerified customer support service is one of the best around, with long opening hours and seven days a week service, which is accessible via either email or phone. Put all this together and BeenVerified is undoubtedly one of the best sites to check on sex offenders in your area.
2. Instant CheckMate
Instant CheckMate has an exceptional record of producing accurate and comprehensive background checks, with millions of searches having been successfully conducted. Like most other top-tier background checking sites, CheckMate offers two levels of service. At their basic rate, they will trawl through sources including sex offender registers, criminal records, marriage and divorce records, details of relatives, address history, and any public social media profiles. For many users, this information is sufficient, but if you want details from sources like court records, financial history, driving licenses and weapons licenses, you will need to pay a bit more for their premium service.
CheckMate only has an Android app available at the moment, which is a pity for iOS device users. But they do offer another excellent online dashboard, which should work on your Apple mobile device, as well as excellent customer support service which is open around the clock. Their final reports are detailed yet at the same time easy to follow and understand. Add all this up and CheckMate are another site well worth giving a try.
Truthfinder will search through millions of public records, offering the type of comprehensive service that users feel confident using to uncover sex offenders. Their basic level search will take in sex offender registers, criminal and court records, driving records, personal information, and information about known relatives, and plenty more besides. For their higher tier, they will search things like education history, voter registration records, weapons and other licenses held, and more.
Truthfinder also offers a deep web research service, which can search through even more online sources and social media profiles to ensure nothing online is overlooked. For their mid-range prices, Truthfinder delivers an impressive service. Their reports are clean and simple to read, distilling massive amounts of information into bits you can actually make use of. They only offer an Android app at the moment, but Apple fans will still be able to access their information via the excellent online dashboard. Whatever method you choose, you’ll rest easier knowing that customer support is readily available 24/7 on a toll-free number.
Last but not least on our list is Intelius. This service will parse a huge range of sources to uncover such details as a person’s full contact details, address history, criminal records, sex offender register details, financial history, property records, educational history, and more. Their attention to detail is hugely impressive, especially considering the scope of their success: more than 50 million background checks for satisfied customers across the USA.
Intelius offers a sleek online dashboard, which is well designed and easy to use, and their final reports are some of the clearest we have seen. Users have access to dedicated apps for both Android and iOS devices, which is a relative rarity in this industry. Their customer services provisions do not quite match some of their competitors, but are nonetheless sufficient for the needs of most users (they do, however, include a rather nice online troubleshooter service).
Why Aren’t Background Checks Free?
We are often asked why there is a fee involved to run a background check. After all, these services are only accessing information that is already publicly available. But there are several reasons why running a proper background check can incur some costs.
For a start, while the data they source is publicly available, it is not always free to access. Many will charge a fee for this, and that cost is covered by the site you use. Beyond fees, background checking companies have other costs to cover too. These sites employ the latest technology to search through millions of data sets in a matter of minutes. This processing power and sophistication does not come cheap. There are also often human costs involved as well, especially if they have to send runners to manually search through court records.
You may come across some sites which offer to run a background check for free, but more often than not these are not to be trusted. Most will offer a substandard service and deliver unreliable and inaccurate results. Some may even be a front for hackers wanting to steal your data or even plant malware on your device.
Running a background check using a proper site, such as the ones we recommend above, is not particularly expensive. And their records for reliability and accuracy means you can have complete faith in their results too. And after all, keeping your family safe from sexual predators and having peace of mind in your own neighborhood is invaluable.
If you want to find out about any sex offenders living in your neighborhood, the quickest and most reliable way to find out is by running a background check through an online service. These sites will search through sex offender registers, criminal records data, court records, and many other sources to give you all the information you need to keep your family safe.
They can provide that data in a matter of minutes in many cases and the prices they charge are extremely reasonable. For a small fee, you can know everything you need to about the people in your area, and you really can’t put a price on that kind of peace of mind.
Have you ever used a background checking site to find out how many sex offenders are in your area? Were you shocked by the results you got? Which site did you use and how did you find the service they offered? We always welcome the comments and opinions of all our readers, so why not share them with us using the comment box below.