It’s every parent’s worst fear. The discovery of a convicted sex offender in the neighborhood is the stuff of nightmares. The best way to combat these natural concerns is to arm yourself with up-to-date background information about the people in your children’s lives, so you can protect them from predators and potentially dangerous situations. With access to the best background check websites, it’s easier and more affordable than you might think! Get to know the facts about sex offenders, and how background checks can make the difference between safe and sorry.
The term ‘sex offender’ is used to describe a person who has been convicted in a court of law for any of a range of sex offenses, from lewd acts, sexual conduct with a minor, molestation and rape, to kidnapping and murder, in cases where the crime showed evidence of a sexual aspect. When convicted sex offenders are released from prison to the community, they are required by law to register with state and federal sex offender registries. They must provide comprehensive personal information, including date of birth, social security number, car registration, fingerprints, even a DNA sample, and much more. They are required to re-register every year, and when they move residence. Failure to comply with the registry rules is also considered a crime.
Sex offender registries exist for a very good reason. In addition to enabling law enforcement to keep track of past offenders and prevent repeat offenses, they also empower parents and the community with the information they need to protect their children. Particularly when moving to a new, unfamiliar neighborhood, parents can take advantage of the information available in sex offender registries to keep their kids safe from harmful predators.
Find Out Who is a Sex Offender
Unfortunately, and contrary to what we might see in the movies, it can be very difficult to identify a sex offender. Many sex offenders are connected to the child or his/her family in some way, whether it be a teacher, coach, family friend or relative. Sometimes, an innocent adult-child friendship or mentoring relationship may not be what it seems.
Yet there needn’t be cause for alarm. If you are concerned about your child coming into contact with a sex offender, the best way to ensure your child’s safety is to conduct online background checks. Much of the personal information sex offenders are required to submit to registries is accessible only to law enforcement. However, some information is also available to the public via online databases and background check websites. These sites gather information about sex offenders from local and federal registries and other sources of public records, and compile it all into a searchable online database. It’s a powerful tool to help you find out who is a sex offender in your area or community.
The Best Background Check Websites to Help You Locate Sex Offenders
If you’re interested in using a background check service to help locate registered sex offenders in your area, there are a few features that the best background check websites have in common. These include:
- Comprehensive, accurate records
- User-friendly search & interface
- Multi-device platform
- Fast & secure
BeenVerified is a solid player in online background checks, with a comprehensive range of reports and checks available, including background reports, contact information, phone & email lookups, address lookups, criminal records lookups and sex offender lookups. The informational approach and user-friendly design simplifies the search and find process. The site also offers useful extra features, such as Court Runner. This service arranges for a person to physically go to the court to retrieve documents that are not available digitally or in the timeframe you need. This ‘human touch’ goes a long way in the sensitive area of background checks. Pricing is flexible, with 1-month, 3-month or pay-as-you-go per report.
- 1-month subscription: $26.89
- 3-month subscription: $17.48/month
Intelius provides a reasonably comprehensive range of up-to-date reports, including people search, background check, a more intensive People Search Plus report, as well as a reverse phone lookup service. Intelius really excels however in its security and privacy, as well as offering the service as both iOS and Android mobile apps, which is highly convenient for people who do most of their online activity on their smartphone. Another advantage is that you pay for the month but can cancel anytime, so you’re not locked into an ongoing contract.
- For Premier package, $19.95 monthly subscription (50% off the first month.
1 Month Premier
1 Month Premier Plus
For a truly comprehensive background check service, TruthFinder is a good option. It offers people search, criminal records, court records, reverse phone search and deep web search. The deep web search is a more comprehensive scan of the ‘dark web’, and it provides a range of extra, hidden information, such as criminal records, pictures, addresses and phone numbers, family and friends, and even aliases, to give you a much deeper picture of the individual. For an extra fee, you can get a background search of the result from the reverse phone search function. TruthFinder also comes with an Android app, and pricing is affordable and flexible. The basic subscription includes unlimited standard background reports.
- 1-month subscription: $27.78
- 3-month subscription: $23.02/month
Instant Checkmate is one of the larger background check databases, so it provides a really comprehensive range of searches and reports. The standard report includes personal information, relatives, contact details, location history, criminal and arrest records, traffic violations, vehicle information, social media profiles, nearby sex offenders, even pilot licenses and more. Premium reports include all this, plus civil judgments, corporate affiliations, weapons permits, neighbors and business associates, and more. In addition, there is reverse phone lookup, email search and a range of free resources, such as criminal records database, inmate search, and others. The convenient, user-friendly dashboard and an Android mobile app version make Instant Checkmate a solid and affordable background check service.
- A 5-day trial for $1
- Standard subscription: Unlimited person reports for $34.78/month
- 3-month subscription: $83.47 for 3 months
Are all Sex Offenders Equal?
When it comes to sex offender registries, like most areas of life, there are gray zones. In addition to concerns about privacy and individual rights, there is also the issue of the registry being used in dubious cases. For example, in many states, a person aged 18 years can be registered as a sex offender for maintaining a consensual sexual relationship with a 16-year-old. Although illegal, it is worlds apart from the actions of a pedophile. The 18-year-old boyfriend may well find himself listed on the same registry as convicted child rapists and kidnappers. The fact is, not all sex offenders are equal. Unfortunately, a background check will only tell you whether a person is on the sex offender registry. It will not give specific details of the offense. Therefore, it can be difficult to separate the truly dangerous offenders from less clear-cut cases.
Background Checks Shine a Light on Sexual Predators
We want our children to be safe. On the other hand, we don’t want to be overprotective. Finding the balance can be tough, and it’s an age-old problem for parents. Fortunately, technology has made it easier to monitor and protect our kids. Online background checks shine a light on the people who associate with children, and they are a vital component of an overall plan to weed out and trap sexual predators. With the help of a high quality, recommended background check website, it can be done discreetly, privately and affordably.