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May 24, 2013 10:07 PM

Tracking Sexual Predators With An App

Sioux Falls, Sd

From an early age we're taught not to talk to strangers, but that's becoming more difficult in today's hyper connected world. While you can't keep an eye on your children 24/7, you can use technology to help protect your child from predators.

Nationally, more than 2,000 kids are reported missing every day. To protect their children, some parents are turning to a new app that pinpoints exactly where sex offenders live in your neighborhood.

"I do think it's a good idea because I am a very naive person and I need to know that," Lisa Tiensvold said.

Alert ID will tell you if registered sex offenders live close to where you are. Tiensvold says this type of information is helpful but it doesn't replace old-fashioned parenting.

"We really trained them well at home who they can trust, who they can't trust and what they need to do if they see someone they can't trust. Not to be afraid to call 911 because we have to be safe that's all there is to it," Tiensvold said.

And Sioux Falls police agree.

“Best thing to do is call police, a lot of times kids are preached to about calling 911 in an emergency and they don't think someone following them is an emergency. That certainly is an emergency and an appropriate time to call 911," Sioux Falls Police Public Information officer Sam Clemens said.

Alert ID just added South Dakota to their database this year to help parents be more aware. And while we don't hear about kidnappings happening in Sioux Falls very often, Clemens says a simple conversation with your kids can make a big difference.

"The best thing people can do is talking to their kids about concerns or dangers and what to do if they have to face them," Clemens said.

It's a conversation Tiensvold has had with all three of her children and one she is confident they understand.

"I mean he will say, 'mom I didn't feel comfortable so I left' and I think that's a good thing if you don't feel comfortable, then leave," Tiensvold said.

But can you reach a point where your kids know too much? Tiensvold doesn't think so.

"I do think that's good it educates people and that's what we need. We can’t just pretend the things don't happen because they do," Tiensvold said.

And if an app gives you a better idea of what kind of threat is out there, Tiensvold says it doesn't hurt to have it on your phone.

The Alert ID app uses your zip code to help find criminals in your neighborhood. It's free and available for both Apple and Androiddevices.

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