STAY Safe: Learn About Convicted Sex Offenders in Your Community
Would you like a way to easily check to see if someone you meet online or in person is a convicted sex offender? You can now do so easily if you live in the United States.
Sex Offender Registries in the U.S.
There are more than a hundred publicly accessible sex offender registries in the U.S. Each state has it’s own registry as do U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam. Many Native American tribes have sex offender registries as well.
With more than a hundred registries, where do you begin to learn about people in your community who are convicted sex offenders? You begin at the Federal website that has links to all other sites in the U.S.
National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW)
The NSOPW provides public access to sex offender data nationwide.
There are two ways to access the NSOPW resource. One is by using the dedicated NSOPW Mobil App. You can download the mobile app through the Apple App store or, for Android smartphones, through Google Play. The second way is to visit the NSOPW website at https://www.nsopw.gov/.
How to Search for Records
Let’s walk through a typical search on the NSOPW resource:
Start by going to https://www.nsopw.gov/.
To conduct a National Sex Offender Quick Search if you have a first and last name, enter the name information in the “National Sex Offender Quick Search” box near the top of the page and hit “Search”:
You will be taken to a “Conditions of Use” and acknowledgement page. Click the acknowledgement box and then select the state, territory, or tribal nation registry you want to search.
If the name you entered is common, you’ll likely have multiple records. Simply scroll down through the records to see if the person you entered is in the database.
If You Don’t Have a Name
To search by fields other than names, start by scrolling down the home page to the “Public Registry Sites” box on the lower right. Click on the dropdown menu field and select the state, territory, or tribe site you would like to explore,
You’ll be taken to the main “Public Registry Sites” page where you will again need to select the state, territory, or tribal site using a dropdown menu or clicking on a map.
I encourage you to bookmark the National Sex Offender Public Website and check the registries that are relevant for you on a regular basis. This tool can help you steer clear of people you don’t want in your life.
In our next Stay Safe post, you’ll learn about three smartphone apps that you can add to your Stay Safe toolbox.
Until then, If you have questions about the NSOPW resource or would like to share a success story about how you used a sex offender registry to avoid a potential problem relationship, please post your story below, or send an email to me at StaySafeToday@outlook.com.
Stephen Carter is a former chief of police, defensive tactics instructor, corporate security director, and international speaker who has taught thousands of people how to safeguard their homes, travel safely, and protect themselves online. In addition, he is the CEO of Stress Solutions, LLC, a company dedicated to helping everyone achieve optimum health and emotional well-being.