It's impossible to prevent all cases of abduction, but experts agree that it is possible to decrease the number of abductions through several measures. One is for parents to be aware of sex offenders in the surrounding area. Another is to teach children to respond correctly to those around them. Known and parental abductions are the most difficult to prevent for obvious reasons — parents, family members, and babysitters have legitimate access to the child and it may not be immediately known that they've abducted him.
Sex Offender Registries
There are many ways to check whether someone has been convicted of a sexual crime. The federal sex offender registry is maintained by the FBI at
Other sites do it differently. FamilyWatchdog.us (
Be aware that other sites have taken this name or a form of it. They attempt to imitate the service and redirect new users to themselves. However, most charge for their service and are questionable by virtue of this misdirection. In fact, opportunists have hijacked the addresses of many legitimate sites. Be sure to thoroughly research these types of sites before trusting them.
Many good programs are available to teach children to be safe. Because of space limitations, only a few will be discussed here. One of the most influential and far-reaching resources is the site concerning Megan's Law,
No one in the community knew of Jesse Timmendequas's crimes. Neither did they know that he lived with two other sex offenders he'd met in prison. He lured Megan into his home with the promise of a puppy. Megan's Law dictates that sex offenders must register their addresses with officials so that neighbors can know if an offender lives close by. The site outlines other stipulations of the law.
Should you register, with a $10 activation fee and a $4.95 monthly membership fee, you'll receive access to the National Registry Alert offender registry. Enter your zip code and receive reports on each registered offender in your area, plus maps, addresses, photos, and conviction information. You'll also receive an ID kit and updates when sex offenders move in and out of your community. This site also offers rules to help keep children safe.
More Missing Child Organizations and Resources
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) is possibly the best-known organization of its kind. Established in 1984, NCMEC has dealt with more than 519,000 leads. Its CyberTipline, 1-800-THE-LOST, is a 24-hour phone number for reporting missing child cases and sightings.
For more information on the commercial exploitation of children, see the National Institute of Justice's Web site,
NCMEC's research leads to the estimation that one in five females and one in ten males are sexually assaulted or abused before reaching adulthood. Unfortunately, data — while incomplete — indicates that less than 35 percent of these cases are reported to any authority.
Almost 300,000 tips regarding the sexual exploitation of children were reported through NCMEC's CyberTipline between 1998 and 2004. Tips increased tremendously in those six years, from 4,578 in 1998 to 112,017 in 2004. NCMEC reports the recovery of more than 118,700 children to date.