Florida Sex Offenders

What is the definition of a sex offender in Florida?  What is the difference between a sex offender and a sexual predator? Is there a sex offender near me? And how can I know if my family is safe?  This article will attempt to answer these questions, and how to access the sex offender registry information available to you.

Defining Sex Offenders

In Florida, the legal definition of a sex offender is applied to anyone who was convicted (or released) after October 1, 1993 of any one of the following three general categories of crimes:

  1. Any sex crime committed against a person 15 years old or younger, also known as “lewd or lascivious acts.”
  2. Rape
  3. Any sex crime committed against a person 16-17 years old, also known as “unlawful sex with minors.” (for further information, go to this website)

It is important to mention that those who are defined as sex offenders are obligated to register with the Florida sex offender registry.

Defining Sex Predators

Sexual predators are a special class of sex offenders that have been specifically designated as ‘predators’ because of the nature of their crime.  Predators must have been previously convicted of a sexually violent crime, such as:

  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual trafficking of minors
  • Sexual performance by a child
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses in the presence of a minor

In addition, sex predators must have been designated as such by a written order from the court; and, of course, all Florida sex predators must register on the same sex offender list as offenders.

How can you find Florida Sex Offenders and Predators?

So, by now you’re probably thinking, “How do I find out if there’s a sex offender near me?”  The answer is a lot easier than you think. Taking into account public notification requirement laws and the Internet, which makes information available to all, it has become more and more difficult for Florida sex offenders to conceal themselves from the public.

The statewide database for Florida is searchable here.  The websites powerful filtering engine allows you to search for offenders by first or last name, city or county of residence, or even just by zip codes.  In other words, if you want to find out registered offenders living in your area, you just leave all the search fields blank except the zip code field, and it will return results for all known sex offenders living in that particular zip code.  You can even do a sex offender search for your neighborhood here, if you like, using either your home address and city or address and zip code.

But what if that’s not enough?  What if an offender from a nearby state has moved in next door, and hasn’t registered in Florida yet?  Well, you can use the National Sex Offender Public Website here to search for offenders using either their first and last name, or by entering your address in order to get a listing of all nationally registered sex offenders within a 1 to 3 mile radius.

A Single County Sex Offender Search

Some Florida counties also keep their own records of sex offenders residing within their boundaries, and you can search their database as well.  A great example is the interactive map which enables you to conduct a Miami-Dade county sex offender search.  Inquiry can be done according to address, landmark, or even just an intersection.

Florida Sex Offender Statistics

Florida Department of Law Enforcement reveals that in the course of 2013, there were 6,452 incidents of rape by force, 288 attempted rapes and 3,123 cases of forcible fondling throughout the state.

In 2014, there were a total of 63,990 registered sex offenders living in the state of Florida.  Or consider the Sun-Sentinel’s investigation into recidivism rates in 2013:  nearly 600 repeat offenders after being released back into society, resulting in 460 child molestations and 121 women raped.  No matter which statistics you are considering, the fact is that the danger is real, and probably living somewhere close to you.  Using the information available to you can only help to protect you and your family, and ensure that they won’t be the next victim statistic.