Renting Next Door to a Fort Hood Killer

America's future mass murderer could be your buddy next door. That's what the residents of the Casa De Norte apartment complex discovered when they heard their "nice" and "generous" neighbor was the Fort Hood killer.

The landlord and residents praised the amicable Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who not only paid his rent six months in advance, but shared food, furniture, designer clothes and copies of the Koran with neighbors before departing on his killing spree, which he masked as deployment overseas, reports The Daily News.

Figuring out if your neighborhood is studded with criminals is tough - especially when they're always disguised as nice guys. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of free Web sites with a detailed registry of crooks and predators.

CriminalSearches – This site obtains its information from local and state agencies and provides you with a list of criminals living nearby. If you think your loud neighbor upstairs has a history of violence, just type in his or her first and last names and the city of residence, and the site will tell you whether your suspect has ever been convicted of a crime. The categories include violence-,sex-, business-, behavioral-, robbery- and drug and alcohol-related offenses. Beware, though, not all information is updated and if a local agency did not provide any records on the individual in question, you're out of luck. Note, too, that an outstanding speeding or parking ticket will also show up in the search, and if that's the only thing flashing by your neighbor's name, that person may just be guilty of irresponsibility.

Family Watchdog – Want to ensure you're not knocking on a rapist's door for a cup of sugar? This Oprah Winfrey-endorsed site will help. Family Watchdog maps locations of sex offenders ranging from sex solicitors to rapists and child molesters. Type in your address and you will see all the sex offenders living in your area, provided with a picture, full name, birth date and criminal convictions and any additional details available. You can also opt for a Family Watchdog mobile application that shows locations of sex offenders on your cell phone and will alert you of local wrongdoers via text. So the next time you're getting ready to leave a friend's party late at night, you can quickly scan the neighborhood on your cell phone for any sex predators prior to departing.

Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website– This is the official U.S. Department of Justice Web site, with links to each state's sex offender registry. Unlike Family Watchdog, it does not offer a visual map of each offender's proximity to your home; however, if you provide a ZIP code of the area, you'll get a list of names of the criminals along with their personal information and detailed descriptions of where the crime(s) took place.

In addition, the states' Web sites offer complete background checks on individuals you may suspect of a crime; however, for a detailed report, you will have to pay anywhere from $30-$50. You may be able to obtain criminal court records for free at the county level, but in most cases, you would have to request these in person.

Traits of a Murderer

If you want to know whether your neighbor leads a double life as a serial killer, for example, Harold Schechter, serial murder expert and author of "The Serial Killer Files: The Who, What, Where, How, and Why of the World's Most Terrifying Murderers," lists 10 traits of serial killers, noting that an inclination toward homicide stems from childhood. In addition, this FBI report identifies motivations behind serial murders and debunks some media-portrayed stereotypes of serial killers.

Unless an individual is often violent and abuses drugs and alcohol, it would be hard to suspect that he or she might be disposed to murder, as was the case with the Fort Hood killer. Digging deeper into the individual's past, however, might reveal characteristics shared by most murderers. In his book, "Whoever Fights Monsters," former FBI criminologist, Robert K. Ressler, says that "in a situation where you find a distant mother, an absent or abusive father and siblings, a nonintervening school system, an ineffective social services system, and an inability of the person to relate sexually in a normal way to others, you have almost a formula for producing a deviant [not necessarily murderous] personality."

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