Guest blogger Kourtney: As I was driving up the highway with my 10-year-old daughter the other day, we noticed an "Amber Alert" posted on electronic signs between exits. "Child Abduction," it read. "Black Honda LIC XXX-XXX." My daughter asked me what it meant.
Taking advantage of a teachable moment, I told her about "Amber," the girl who had been abducted and murdered (for whom the Amber Alert was named). I'd explained the whole "stranger-danger" thing before, but this time I was blunt: "Strangers can do some pretty horrible things," I said.
I explained (again) the importance of not trusting strangers, of never talking to or going off with one and of fighting like hell if one tried to physically force her into a car (or physically force her to do anything). It wasn't an easy conversation, but I would rather that she be scared than unprepared. As parents, we never think our own child could be abducted; it's always something that happens to someone else. But it does happen -- and I can think of nothing worse than some deranged person kidnapping and harming one of my children.
When we got home that night, I checked the sex-offender website to see if any lived near us. Chances are, I thought, there'd be one or two. But I was disturbed to find out that there are SEVEN within a one-mile radius -- and two of them are IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. (As in, one street over in each direction!)
OK, I realize that these people have to live somewhere. But having them this close is too close -- especially since I live two blocks from an elementary school (which both my kids attend) and from a park (which my kids play in). How are these people allowed to live so near to so many children? Of all the places to choose to live ... they live by a school and a park?! It seems suspicious to me. I can't help but think of a couple of starving wolves pacing around the henhouse, licking their chops.
I called the school's principal and the director of the park and asked them if they were aware of these creeps -- and what they were doing to protect the children from them. Both were aware of them, and also knew their addresses, their names and what they looked like. This made me feel better, but still -- the fact remains that there are these dangerous pervs living way too close for comfort.
Besides educating my kids about them, what else can I do? I would appreciate some advice. Do any of you have sex offenders living near you? What have you done to protect your kids?