Wow - I just went to Family Watchdog to learn more about the site and upon visiting the About Us section was confronted with this...
* 1 of 5 girls and 1 of 6 boys will be molested before their 18th birthday.
* 90% of all sexual assaults against children are committed by someone the victim knew.
* The typical sexual predator will assault 117 times before being caught.
* The re-arrest rate for convicted child molesters is 52%.
If those statistics don't compel a parent to read on, I don't know what would. Family Watchdog was created in 2005 to provide the information needed to protect your family from registered offenders and predators. The completely free service provides a quick search function on the home page which enables you to enter your address and see offenders in your neighborhood. Here is the map that comes up when I enter my address in NYC.
Each of those color coded boxes reveal the home or work information of individuals who have committed an offense against children, rape, sexual battery and other offenses.
Alternatively, here is a snap shot of a suburb on Long Island where I grew up. While NYC is certainly a hot zone and very difficult to assess your families' risk, many areas of the US will likely be a bit closer to this picture, with just a few offenders in the community and several in the surrounding area to be aware of.
In addition to the search tool, Family Watchdog has partnered with Hand Storm to create an iPhone application called Stay Safe (available through iTunes ) which enables you to search via your mobile device. They also offer e-mail services which can notify you if a registered sexual predator moves within five miles of your address. If you are concerned about a particular offender, Family Watchdog can track them and notify you of a change in their location.
Family Watchdog now also offers updates on food and drug recalls from the FDA, product recalls and safety tips for families. I recommend visiting Family Watchdog to increase your awareness and to protect your family.