I received the link from my coworker today, who thought that since I have a 6-year-old, I should be aware of who’s living in my area. I have mixed feelings about this stuff: I firmly believe in an individual’s right to privacy, but I also have a fierce desire to protect myself and my family from potential harm. It’s not an easy position for me to resolve, and I think there are probably good arguments to be had on either side of the issue.
But I caved to the idea, and plugged in my address. The results were alarming – something like 8 convicted sexual offenders within 2 miles of my home. I vaguely remembered seeing another site like this, which showed considerably fewer convicted offenders in the area, so I googled “location of convicted felons.” What I found was this article, which then led me to google “FelonSpy.” I found a whole host of results declaring it a hoax, including this entry on Snopes.
I entered my address into FelonSpy again, and got an entirely new set of results: another 8 or 10 offenders, all within 2 miles. A third time: a third set of new results, 8 or 10 new names, new convictions. I’m sure at some point the results would begin overlapping, but I don’t really have the time to figure out when.
I spent some time reading through the FAQs and the Disclaimers on the FelonSpy website. I’m trying now to figure out if it’s a poorly-written, totally unprofessional website trying to be for realz, or if it’s a big, fat joke.