Friday, April 6, 2007

The Spin Zone...

But she conceded a point that many experts have made: This "is a problem that is going to have to be addressed. If we drive these offenders so far underground or we can't supervise them because they become so transient, it's not making us safer."

This is a point being made about laws that are growing more popular across the country, limiting where sex-offenders can live. I am not suggesting that we should treat sex offenders lightly, and allow them to live next to schools, but I think we need to put more thought into the consequences of the actions we are taking. Statistics show that a majority of children who are molested are molested by people they already know. Changing where people live doesn't solve the issue if parents that know these offenders are either unaware, or uncaring of the threat that they present to their children.

There are loop wholes in this strategy as well, the biggest threat isn't where these people live, but where they go, and how they gain the trust of their victims. Living miles from the nearest person could serve to protect offenders and their crimes if it means that no one will hear the victims screams, or that victims have little ability to escape. If a offender is able to access victims at a park or a school, the offender doesn't have to live near either, just to have access.

You can go that one step further and limit their access to parks, and under most circumstances they have no reason to be on a children's school campus. What you can't do is prevent them for waiting near the park or the school and watching for an opportunity. Again I am not arguing against these laws, my point is two fold. One that these laws are not as strong at protecting children as those who support them may believe. Two that it could make offenders harder to track.

There are some cities where the area that offenders can live in is extremely restricted. While I understand the concept behind limiting an offender from living across the street from a school or a house. At a distance of a half-mile or more the threat seems to be as equal as one mile. If our goal is to find a solution to this crime, we need to find a balance. These laws could backfire by not only pushing offenders into the streets, but they could choose to not register, which would push them out of the system that could help them and track them.

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