#childpredator | Halloween 2019: How To Avoid Sexual Predators In Boulder

BOULDER, CO — Halloween is one of the most exciting celebrations of the year for kids, but it can be a stressful time for parents. Will their costume be warm enough? Will the candy make them sick? Will they be safe? While some organizations argue against making sex offender registries public, many parents’ groups across the country advocate for a right to know who is living in their neighborhoods.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation provides our state’s sex offender registration records to the National Sex Offender Registry. You can look up whether registered sex offenders live in your neighborhood by choosing the ‘Search by Location’ option and providing your address, city and state.

The tool allows users to start their searches in an area as small as a one-mile radius of the listed address and goes up to the three-mile mark. Results are displayed in list and map form.

In accordance with state law, the Colorado Sex Offender Registry website does not list sex offenders convicted of misdemeanor sex offenses and those sex offenders that were convicted as juveniles.

Law enforcement officials and researchers caution that the registries can play only a limited role in preventing child sexual abuse and stress that most perpetrators are known to the child.

The U.S. Department of Justice, which oversees the National Sex Offender Public Website, estimates that only about 10 percent of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child.

The Justice Department estimates 60 percent of perpetrators are known to the child but are not family members but rather family friends, babysitters, child care providers and others, and 30 percent of child victims are abused by family members. Nearly a quarter of the abusers are under the age of 18, the department estimates.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation offers the following tips for preventing negative interactions with sex offenders:

  • Do not go out of your way to bother sex offenders in your community. Creating a negative environment will actually increase the chance that they reoffend.
  • If you see an offender doing something suspicious or any concerning behavior, you can contact your local law enforcement agency.

The bureau also encourages parents to teach their children:

  • Don’t take rides from strangers.
  • Don’t keep secrets. Tell them it is okay if they tell a safe adult or older sibling instead of you, but make sure they know they can tell someone.
  • Don’t go places alone.
  • Do run, scream, and get away from someone bothering them.
  • Do tell them it is okay to say “no” when a friend or family member makes them uncomfortable. Unwanted tickling, kissing on the cheek, hugging, etc. by a friend or family member, while well intentioned and innocent, can often teach the child that they can’t say no to an adult.
  • Adults are not always right.
  • The importance of honesty and the danger of keeping secrets.

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