10 Trends Concerning Sexual Predators
February 13, 2012 | in Background Check
Sex abuse crimes are in the headlines with alarming regularity, raising questions in the public’s mind such as how to spot potential offenders. Sexual predators come from all walks of life and don’t fit neatly into any specific profile, but there are some interesting trends worth noting. Below are 10 trends concerning sexual predators:
- Don’t Bother Hiding – Most online predators are known to their target victims and do not hide their age when corresponding with them. They instead gain their victim’s trust through online chats and emails before arranging to meet in person.
- Willing Victims – As many as 80% of sexual assault cases committed by someone that the victim met online, resulted from their having voluntarily agreed to meet with the attacker.
- Relative Risk – Studies such as those conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice indicate that children are more at risk of being sexually abused by a family member than by a stranger.
- Twice the Risk – According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of registered sex offenders in the United States doubled between the years 1994 and 2004, and is continuing to increase at a comparable rate.
- High Tech Tracking – Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is increasingly being used to monitor convicted sex offenders. At least 35 states are presently making use of the technology.
- Moral Panic – Because of the nature of the crime and the age of many of the victims, high profile sexual assault cases induce strong public reaction. The result has been much more severe penalties in many states, but also some significant misconceptions about sex offense crimes, such as recidivism rates and the percentage of perpetrators who were themselves victims of sexual abuse.
- Public Notification – Some states have begun offering their constituents the option of receiving email or telephone notification from their local sex offender registry whenever a registered offender moves into their area.
- Forced to the Fringe – More stringent residency restrictions are making it increasingly difficult for registered offenders to find a place to live, driving many of them underground. One such example, the 2,000-ft restriction imposed in the state of California, has been demonstrated to make nearly the entire city of San Francisco out of bounds for a registered offender.
- Age Difference and Venue – During the past decade, more arrests have been made of online predators than those who stalked their victims offline. Most of those offenders were between the ages of 18 and 25, whose victims were adolescents, and who had been openly discussing sex with their victims for some time before committing their crimes.
- More Female Offenders – Over the past ten years, the percentage of convicted female sexual predators in the U.S. has risen from about 1% to currently around 8%.
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