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Stricter Sex Offender Laws: Does a Resident Registry Work?

California's strict sex offender law — called Jessica's Law — passed by 70 percent of voters in 2006 may not be the fix they'd hoped for. The provisions hoped to lock away more child molesters are not only not helping, but could be causing more harm.

One of the hallmarks of the law, banning sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, in some cases means entire cities are off-limits for offenders. Though intending to keep kids safe, because the number of offenders who consider themselves "transient" has risen 44 percent, the amount of offenses actually increases.

To see why this is, and how to find a map of your own neighborhood,


The California Sex Offender Management Board says, "Current research concludes that suitable and stable housing for sex offenders is critical to reducing recidivism and increasing community safety." One author explains it this way: "We're locking up a small number, then releasing the rest and saying, 'Good luck, and you can't live anywhere.' "

The other sticking point, the mandate GPS system for offenders (Ireland is considering a similar plan before people even offend) hit a snag when they realized no one had passed money to buy the units.

They're hoping to fix that money issue this fall. In the meantime, you can map out your own area — does knowing make you feel more or less safe? Do strict residency measures help or hurt the cause?

Join The Conversation
Meike Meike 8 years
This would be okay if the map didn't list adult aged teenagers having sex with their 15-16 year old girl/boyfriends as sex offenders. At the most, that is a 3-5 year gap that would be natural if they were 18 and 22 or 23. Not to mention the number of idiot girls who fake their age and mislead older guys. I mean if you find a girl in an over 18 club whose false i.d. states they are 18, what's an older guy to do? Child molesters who intentionally know they are violating young boys and girls are a whole different breed that need to be put in jail for life.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
"Hey look, there's my house! Oh, wait....shoot" ;)
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
rofl javsmavs! Maybe they just haven't removed the red box over the whitehouse from when Clinton was in office. Seems awfully stupid that they didn't consider the DC quadrant issue when mapping this out. Our government's money hard at work... Anyway, I think it's absolutely horrific that these 16 year old kids are having their lives ruined by having sex with other teenagers. There is absolutely a huge difference between a 35 year old having sex with a 13 year old rather than a 16 year old. It's night and day. So disappointing that we can't be more nuanced about this.
stephley stephley 8 years
I have a daughter and I think it's unconstitutional. Your understanding of such things shouldn't change with your personal life situation, IMO.
javsmav javsmav 8 years
This has major inaccuracies. Addresses are off by blocks and offenders' addresses are in the wrong quadrant (in DC there can be 4 of the same address but it's distinguished by the quadrant). I checked my office and was surprised to see a red box over the White House. ha ha. fortunately our president is not a child molester, but some guy who lives in a white house in Montana is. I'm very conflicted by this. I agree with Jillness--we haven't found a solution yet.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Fair enough torg!
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I did this search on the Jessica's Law website once, and saw a guy I went to high school with, and was actually an aquaintance of (he was friends with the guy I was dating)...and he was on the site cause he raped a girl. In retrospect it doesn't really surprise me that he'd do something like that.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Sure, I saw your second sentence. I wanted to know why you were curious about the correlation. It would be easy to jump to conclusions when you ask something like that, and I honestly didn't want to assume anything unfairly.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Hey if you guy's look closely you can see me waving on the first map.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Torg, just honestly curious. I believe my second sentence on the matter stated that I wanted to see a breakdown of those who find it unconstitutional to not have sex offenders in their neighborhood and those who don't and their parental status. Not one is right and one is wrong, just curious. And martini, am freaked! I think there may be a problem because an elementary school was just built right beside one of these offender's home. And 356, parenting plays a role in so much. I agree completely with your last post.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Good point Lush. I hear you Great, and I think the 15 yo has the responsibility to say NO, too, or to not lie about her age at least. I also think parents of daughters need to educate their girls on the consequences of dating or sleeping with someone over 17/18 so that they are aware that their seemingly innocent actions have severe negative consequences. And no I have not been blessed with children yet but I am still hoping for them.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
OMG, GS! That would freak me out! I have one w/in a mile for "child molestation" and one w/in a mile for "rape 2". Any idea what "rape 2" is??
True-Song True-Song 8 years
>And, imo, a 19 year old has absolutely NO business having sex with a 15 year old. I agree. But I wouldn't lump him in with the 40 year old having sex with a 5 year old. There's a huge, huge difference. I don't have children. Why do you ask?
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Nice, I have two in my subdivision. One for sex with a 10 yr. old, the other a 12 yr. old. Wonderful.
amybdk amybdk 8 years In case that link doesn't work, I live on Niwot Rd, Longmont CO 80503. Can this be possible?! It doesn't seem correct!.... but it says: 0 offenders 0 non-mappable offenders I'd love to have you in the neighborhood, Martini!
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Actually, 356UIK, it would be easier for the parole officer if the laws were changed to accurately reflect the crime. If the legal system didn't blanket everyone with the same brush, the parole officer would have a lighter load of "sex offenders" to deal with and would actually be able to follow up on those that are real threats.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
amy, where do you live? we are moving!! ;-)
amybdk amybdk 8 years
Wow. there are zero zip none 0 registered sex offenders in my neighborhood.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
And, imo, a 19 year old has absolutely NO business having sex with a 15 year old.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Do those of you who say it is unconstitutional have children? I am curious to see the breakdown of those for and against who have or don't have children.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
But its eaiser and cheaper for any paper pushing parole officer to just lump them all together, paint them with the same brush, and say nope take away all of their rights, is it time for lunch yet/Friday yet? That way they dont have to go out on a limb, take responsibility, and treat each offender on a case by case basis. Sorry to be so general about it and I have tremendous respect for all police officers but this issue just drives me crazy. I better not post again, I might get too worked up :)
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
I think that the laws need to definitely be changed. Someone involved in the case that you reported, Torg, shouldn't even be considered a "sex offender". Someone who is a repeat, violent sex offender (especially if they victimize children) should be put in prison forever and never let out.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
>It has always seemed that banning people, who are on probation and already served their time, from certain cities or areas is certainly unconstitutional to me. Agreed.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Every once in a while, the fiance and I obsessively check that website that maps sex offenders in your area, and feel much less safe. Then we forget about it and start walking to 7-11 at 11 in the night again.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
Oh and there was one woman as well, who had sex with a sixteen year old.
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