Florida is the first state in the country to partner with a new Web site that notifies you by email if a registered child sex offender moves within a mile of your neighborhood.
The State Attorney General's Office hopes the new service will help parents protect their families.
The Family Watchdog is a commercially-run website that offers safety products for sale, but the e-mail notification is free. You can log onto familywatchdog.us or go to the Florida Attorney General's homepage at www.myfloridalegal.com and click on the Family Watchdog link.
If you don't have access to a computer, you can still get information about sex offenders and predators in your neighborhood by calling toll-free 1-888-fl-predator.
The Family Watchdog Website is an interactive site that allows you to create a map of registered sex offenders and other felons who live or work near your home. It's similar to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Web site that lists registered sex offenders and predators.
But the watchdog site also lets you sign up for a free e-mail notification if an offender moves to within a mile of your home.
Once you create a map of offenders who live near you, you can click on the color-coded boxes to see a mug shot of the offender, his or her address and the offense of which he or she was convicted.
The website also posts any current Amber Alerts and offers safety tips. Attorney General Charlie Crist hopes it gets families talking about safety issues.
“It's a dangerous world out there, I'm sorry to say, but we're trying to help empower parents to protect their children.”
An e-mail obviously won't take the place of parental supervision, but it can at least serve as a warning.