I came across an interesting website today. It's called Family Watchdog (click here to link: www.familywatchdog.us). It's been around since August 25, 2005. It allows you to type in an address (your home, your child's school, your church, etc.). A map will pop up showing the address you listed as well as the location of any registered sex offenders nearby.
Of course, it relies on the fact that offenders are registering as they're supposed to and since the info is culled from public records, it can be dated at times. I like this site better than others I've seen because:
1) it shows photos of the offender (when available)
2) the map key will break down the type of offense
3) the tabs at the top list recent moves, and unmappable offenders
John Walsh of America's Most Wanted is affiliated with this site. We all remember the heartbreaking story of his son, Adam. Sadly there are six states that are not yet participating: Nevada, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont. These states either do not provide address data or do not have a centralized registry.
Other advice from the website:
If you know of an offender that is not in this database, you shouldn't confront him/her. Instead contack your local police or sheriff department. A registered sexual offender that fails to report commits a felony, and can be returned to prison.
Finally, "harrassing anyone on the offender registry is a misdemeanor and can be punished by both a fine and jail time. The purpose of this service is to allow you to identify sexual predators that you may come in contact with, not as a tool to hunt them down and run them out."
Knowledge is the best defense.