Keeping Our Children Safe
Jacob Wetterling was an 11 year-old-boy living in a small town in Minnesota when he was abducted on October 22, 1989. To this day, all that is known about his kidnapper is that he was a masked gunman. Due in no small part to the perseverance of his parents in lobbying for tougher legislation, Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Act in 1994. This act requires states to implement a sex offender registry or risk losing ten percent of federal funding for their state and local law enforcement programs. Many states now believe that due to loopholes in registration and an increasingly mobile population, there is a need for a private sex offender registry.
One such online registry is the Klaas Kids Foundation, formed in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of young Polly Klaas in 1993. This site gives detailed information regarding the rules and guidelines for registration for each state, as well as providing a link to each state government’s registration website. Another valuable online resource is called Offendex. It boasts a database of over 750,000 offenders and you can search there by state, city, name or zip code. If you plan to visit a different area, it may be worth checking out a site called Family Watchdog as it provides access to lists of offenders in all states as well.
Keeping our children safe should be a priority for all Americans. Given the scope of the problem, it certainly does not hurt to have a private sex offender registry in addition to state registries. It is worth taking the time to investigate all resources available.