Not really, though. As uncomfortable as it may be, I really do want to know whether the seemingly-nice guy that is actually a sex offender is really creepy, or whether he just did something slightly creepy once, but doesn't represent a risk to others anymore. I usually know such things, because I swim in this information soup, but the general public is left to guess. I suppose you should err on the side of caution. You might look for details of the crime in the online news archives, but that's pretty hit-and-miss. You might meet the offender on your block and just ask him: just keep in mind that it is human nature for people to blame others for their misdeeds, and to paint their own conduct in the most favorable light, even if they fess up to it. Bottom dollar is that it is going to be difficult to make your own determination, unless you're willing to go to courthouse and find the trial transcripts and court documents.
Earlier this year, a friend emailed me after learning that a sex offender was moving into a residence on his block. This offender is one of the scary ones--multiple convictions in multiple jurisdictions, volatile behavior, jammed his time. Reading the reports made me cringe. I don't have a pamphlet or a PowerPoint for this circumstance, so here's the advice I gave him:
"His pattern in Lincoln has been to befriend young teenagers, primarily boys, and ply them with alcohol and pornography. I think he represents a significant risk. If he lived in my neighborhood, I would:
1. Familiarize myself with his current appearance.
2. Check the sex offender registry regularly for any address change.
3. Call the police immediately if I noticed him apparently residing at a place other than the address listed on the registry.
4. Familiarize myself with the vehicles at his address that he might drive.
5. Make sure all of my family members have seen his photograph and are also familiar with the cars he drives.
6. Warn all my family members to avoid him at all times.
7. Provide this same information to my neighbors.
8. Be watchful for any evidence of young people going into his house or hanging out with him, and report any such observations to the police.
9. Stay away from him.
10 Avoid any contact, confrontation,or conversation."