Family Watchdog Sex Offender Search
Family Watchdog is a new site launched by the National Coalition of Victims in Action which uses a local map search function to display sex offenders in specific areas. By using Family Watchdog, parents are able to enter their address or zip code into the site and the result is a Google powered map marking the addresses of convicted sex offenders and where they are working.
The local search service is free and is a Google Maps mashup which is powered by the sex offender registries of 44 states, created by Family Watchdog founder Steve Roddel of Indiana, who began the site in 2005. Family Watchdog has received the blessing of Oprah Winfrey, which helped it grow to achieve over 4 million visitors a month – which may make the service the most popular Google Maps powered mashup online.
“This service exists for one reason, and one reason only,” Roddel explains. “I was tired of reading stories about missing 9 and 10-year-old children killed by registered sex offenders and decided to do something about it. I pray for the day when our service is no longer necessary, and look forward to shutting it down. Until then, I hope Family Watchdog is every family’s best friend.”
Family Watchdog also offers a sexual offender notification service which alerts members via email whenever a convicted sexual predator moves into their area. Additionally the service is open to users from all US states except for Nevada, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont. These states either do not provide address data or do not have a centralized registry.
NOTE: After performing some initial searches around my family’s neighborhood I’m quite dumbfounded, shocked and amazed to learn of the amount of sexual offenders in the area – especially those who live together and near elementary schools. Family Watchdog lists the name of the offender, their address, and their photo – something all parents who live in states with a public sexual offender registry should be made aware of.