Stranger danger next door

Mackenzie Malone, Social Media Editor

The world is full of terrible people, but sometimes it’s a harsh realization to come to in regards how close to home they truly are. It is a terrifying thought that the people closest to us can be the most threatening.

On Jan. 24, residents of Central Park Subdivision on 22 Mile and Van Dyke were shocked to find out that a child molester living in the subdivision cut his tether and skipped town.

“I was surprised that something like this happened right in my own subdivision,” senior Jeffrey Hitchcock said.

The offender was 73-year- old Michael Flaker, wanted for eight counts of criminal sexual conduct with multiple underage children.

“I felt really uneasy,” Hitchcock said, “especially for all the young kids in the neighborhood.”

At the time when he cut his tether, Flaker was to appear in front of Macomb County Circuit Court Judge, Michael Servietto, on Jan. 31. Flaker was looking at about 25 years behind bars.

After missing his court date, Flaker was found and arrested on Feb. 11 in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

“There are some crazy people out in the world,” principal Tom Lietz said.In today’s society, it isn’t hard to find out if the people you surround yourself with have a criminal record or not. All it takes is a quick search on the multiple platforms made available by the state of Michigan.

“I like that the state tells you where people like him are living,” Lietz said.

Although not everyone is aware of these tools available for them to take advantage of.

“I didn’t know about the website until after I found out he escaped,” senior Hailey Hough said.

The website is easy to use; all you need to type in is your address. Any offenders in your area will then appear on the map.

“From now on,” Hough said, “I will definitely be checking out that website more often.”

The state of Michigan is very up to date on their Sex Offender Registry and always makes sure people can check if they’re living in an area where a predator resides. The contact number for the S.O.R. is 517-241-1806.

“I’ve never really worried too much about any people like that living near me,” sophomore Raymond Altmann said. “But now that I know about this, I am going to look up if any predators live in my area.”

This situation brought fear to many parents and kids alike in the area and many more residents are more aware of predators.