If you were to see your neighbor in a coffee shop or grocery store, could you say with 100 percent certainty that you’d know their name?

Do you think they’d be able to recognize you, let alone know your name if you met in the wild?

A recent report by City Observatory stated that one-third of Americans have never interacted with their neighbors. When compared to the 1970s, in which the same study said that 30 percent of Americans actively spent time with their neighbors, it’s clear that people aren’t hanging out anymore.

Why are so many of us actively avoiding the people next door?

For one thing, consider the vast changes that have come about in the last 40 years. With the invention of the internet, getting to know new people (as opposed to the readily-available ones in front of your screen) is just more effort than most people want to put forth.

Still, there are many reasons to break the mold and knock on your neighbor’s door: friendships to be made, communities to forge, and support systems to build.

You can live next to people for years and never get to know them?

Who are they? What are they doing, just beyond that picket fence?

They may look normal enough, but are your children safe around them?

Do they have a malevolent past?

Whatever your motivation, there are many safe and legal ways to check on your neighbors, and with perfect anonymity.

Homefacts, a free online directory that provides lists of registered sex offenders offers Connecticut residents quick access to the database.

Residents can search by city, neighborhoods, and individual streets by an interactive map, lists and photos of sex offenders in their neighborhoods.

The online resource is designed for families to protect their children and those they care for from individuals with problem sexual behaviors.

In addition to the Connecticut Sex Offender Registry, the United States Department of Justice maintains the National Sex Offender Public Registry website: http://www.nsopr.gov.

Through this site you can get information on sex offenders currently registered in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

Quick Note: Any Person Who Uses Information in this Registry to Injure, Harass or Commit a Criminal Act Against Any Person Included in the Registry or Any Other Person is Subject to Criminal Prosecution.

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