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40 Force: Protecting Against Predators – Online Resources

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(WGGB) — Whether in their community or on their computers and smartphones, there are plenty of dangers our children face everyday.

It’s all about being pro-active.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, we have more than three-quarter of a million registered sex offenders in the United States.

Here in Massachusetts alone, there more than 11,000. So, how well do you know your neighbors?

Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh says maybe not well enough.

“I think it’s a community issue as a whole, but it’s also parent involvement. Be as open and honest as you can with your children at an early age, letting them know exactly what a stranger is. Just because you know somebodies name doesn’t mean that they’re not a stranger,” Haigh explains.

A quick search of the website Family Watchdog showed the addresses of 234 known sex offenders just within the Springfield area. Each dot represents one.

Click on them and you get a picture, their address, and the nature of their sex offense.

Another 68 came up as ‘non-mapable’ offenders – meaning their full address isn’t known.

There’s also a helpful smart phone app called Life360. Using GPS tracking technology, it helps you locate family and friends quickly.

However, it can also do just the opposite with a sex offender tracker that uses you current location or home address to see where sex offenders are in your area.

While knowledge is power, knowing where registered sex offenders are is just one piece of the safety puzzle.

Haigh says, “On the parental side, you need to be as clear as you can. These are the people you should talk to. These are the people you shouldn’t talk to. I think parents should take a very active role in their child’s lives.

Once again, that app is Life360 and the website to search for sex offenders in your neighborhood is familywatchdog.us

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

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WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.
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