Police Warn Parents to Talk to Children About Sexual Predators

JONESBORO- "We have over 100 that live here in Jonesboro, who are currently registered sex offenders," said Detective Ernest Ward of Jonesboro Police.

That number is likely bigger considering these are only those who have been caught and who are currently registered.

"We are one of the centers for Northeast Arkansas. We have people that come here from allover the place, and they come from 100 miles away. They shop and they visit relatives," said Ward.

But as we've seen in an arrest as early as last week, family members are often the victims of sexual crimes.

"Most of the time, the offenders are acquaintances and friends of the parents. They trust these people with their children. The thing is, they go to far with that trust," said Ward.

Then, there's the internet factor.

The world wide web has opened the doors to a flood of activity.

"You can be anonymous on the internet. You can be anybody you want to be. You can lead any kind of lifestyle you want to lead. A lot of these lifestyles will attract children, and that's why they say that they do the things that they do," said Ward.

But thanks to education, kids are starting to come forward against these types of action.

"Schools are teaching kids now that it's not okay to be touched, and that it's not okay for people to cross the line and touch you in this fashion. Children are telling what's happening to them a lot more now, than they were a few years ago," said Ward.

But police remind you, that keeping your kids safe starts at home, and it very well could mean the difference in your child falling victim.

"Every parent needs to tell their child and educate their child about what the limits are. The limits being, how someone can touch them, where they can touch them, and that sort of thing, regardless whether that person is a stranger or a relative," said Ward.

As of December there were more than 9,000 registered sex offenders living in the State of Arkansas alone.

And if you would like to find out if there is a sexual offender living in your neighborhood, just log onto www.acic.org for a complete listing.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com