Sunday, April 18, 2010

NC - U.S. Marshals, Sheriffs Check On Registered Sex Offenders

Original Article


By Brandon Jones

GUILFORD COUNTY - U.S. Marshals joined the Guilford County Sheriff's Department Saturday to knock on the doors of registered sex offenders to verify that they live where they've registered.

Operation Sex Offender Verification is at least a twice yearly spot-check on registered sex offenders.

"It makes them realize that this is important and it's not something they can just fluff off by not registering." said Deputy U.S. Marshal Brian Lord.

Marshals joined Guilford County sheriffs Saturday to make sure sex offenders' addresses match what the sheriff's office has on file.

"Most of them are not required to be there 24 hours a day. It's not like they're on home monitoring. Some of them won't be there." Lord said.

Lord says these checks have been going on around the state. In Guilford County on Saturday, 50 officers visited the homes of 280 registered sex offenders. Lord says the spot check is usually completed by the sheriff's department in June or July.

"You throw us in the mix, some of them sometimes don't know whether they're suppose to run out the back door or open the front and see what's going on." Lord said.

If a sex offender fails to register with the Guilford County Sheriff's Department, they issue a warrant for his or her arrest. Some registered sex offenders were caught off guard by their visit from law enforcement.

"When did you start doing this? I have never had this happen to me in seven years." said one registered sex offender.

He says spot-checks on sex offenders make it difficult for registered sex offenders to live a normal life, and he says the attention casts them in a negative light.

"Everytime I hear a car or a knock, I'm afraid someone is coming to get me or arrest me whether I've done anything or not." he said.

Lord says many registered sex offenders keep in regular contact with the sheriff's department, but he says the operation is intended to let all registered sex offenders know that law enforcement is serious about verification. Lord said the Saturday operation was successful and that no warrants were issued. 

Video Link

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

FL - Sex Offender Camp Closed (Another flat out lie!!!)

Original Article
See here for more info


Nearly 100 Sex Offenders Relocated

MIAMI -- The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust has successfully placed the last of the sex offenders who had been living under the Julia Tuttle Causeway into more permanent housing.
- So why is there still about 30 offenders living at the bridge?

Ron Book, Chairman of the Homeless Trust, said, "From the very first report of people moving in under the Julia Tuttle Causeway, the men and women of The Homeless Trust had been going there, talking with the people living there, working diligently to find each and every one of them more appropriate housing. Today, we see the fruits of their hard work."
- Lies!  The offenders they did move, were moved into hotels/motels, and many of them have been given a two hour notice to move, see the link above about more info. So with them being jobless and homeless once again, another camp will open up.

On Friday, the last sex offender living under the bridge was put into a more efficient housing facility and the last of the shanty-town was able to be torn down.
- This article is dated the 17th, so they are saying Friday the 16th they moved all out from under the bridge?  Liars! There are still 30 living at the bridge, and those he did move to one hotel (about 20 or so), have now been given a eviction notice to move within two hours, a day or so ago.  So another camp will be popping up soon.  Just goes to show you, Ron Book is just doing stuff to protect his own a--.  Now he has another fire!

It had become the topic of local, national and international media for much of the last year.
- And will once again!  We have notified many in the news media, and the Homeless Trust as well.

For years, sex offenders sought refuge under the bridge because they said there was no place else to go. Strict sex offender ordinances eliminated most housing options.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

FL - Residency restrictions create dangerous scenarios, state should opt for “child protection zones”

Original Article


On the surface, tiny Broadview Park near State Road 7 and the Turnpike seems like a welcoming community for families in Broward County. The last census showed that there were children in nearly 42 percent of all households in the 1-square mile working-class community. Its homespun website proudly announces an upcoming Community Clean-Up Day, with volunteers asked to report to the community park to be divided into teams.

Broadview Park is also a community of unintended consequences.

Restrictive local ordinances intended to keep sex offenders away from places where children gather and play have pushed some of Broward's 1,300 registered sex offenders into homelessness and into communities like Broadview Park — leading Atlantic Magazine to crown it "Sex Offender City" in its March issue.

Despite the community's many young families, Broadview Park has become a sex offender haven. In 2007, there were four registered sex offenders in the neighborhood. By 2009, there were 106.

This was not the vision of lawmakers back in 1995, when Florida passed its first statewide law to restrict where convicted sex offenders could live. After all, it seemed like common sense to keep sex criminals away from our state's most vulnerable population. The state law said that sex offenders could not live within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and day care centers.
- And how many sexual crimes have been committed at schools, parks or day cares?

Ten years later, the City of Miami Beach one-upped the state law by declaring its city entirely off-limits to sex offenders by passing its own 2,500 foot residency restriction. The bold move immediately put pressure on politicians in every other city and county in Florida to pass similar ordinances. As a result, there are now 149 different ordinances throughout our state, ranging from 1,000 feet to 3,000 feet.

Ironically, what started out as a well-intentioned plan to keep our kids safe from sex offenders has actually put them in greater danger. Unable to find housing after being released from prison, sex offenders have gone homeless or have gone underground in record numbers.

Miami-Dade County made national news when sex offenders were sent to live under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. As many as 100 offenders lived under the bridge at one time, creating a dangerous colony of bitter, desperate offenders left to roam our streets.

The homeless sex offender problem has now spread throughout Florida. Law enforcement's efforts to track these offenders are obstructed by an inconsistent patchwork of differing local laws, along with the difficulty of electronically monitoring homeless offenders who have few places to recharge their ankle bracelets. Moreover, it has become clear that homeless sex offenders are more likely to commit additional crimes than offenders who are employed and who have a stable residence.

In Palm Beach County alone, there are 16 different municipal and county ordinances, all with differing levels of restrictions and effective dates. The resulting confusion has hindered law enforcement officials, who valiantly track hundreds of offenders in this hodgepodge system where the rules vary by street.

At the same time, the absconder rate has tripled. The offenders still live amongst us, but now we don't know where many of them are. Statewide, nearly 800 sex offenders have dropped off the radar because they have never registered their new addresses as required by law.

The most shocking part of all of this is that these so-called "tough" residency restrictions apply only between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. For eight hours at night, these laws are designed to keep offenders away from schools, parks and libraries — when there are no children at such places! Meanwhile, during the remaining 16 hours of the day, sex offenders are allowed to linger at places where children congregate.

To add to this dangerous mess, a court in Jacksonville declared these local ordinances unconstitutional, which has put all 149 of them in legal jeopardy. The court found that Jacksonville's 2,500-foot residency restriction "had the unintended consequence of increasing the risk to our community, and posing greater risks to neighboring communities."

Which leads back to the risks faced by Broadview Park. Sex offenders who have not gone homeless and who have not absconded have ironically clustered together in a neighborhood with a high percentage of young families with children.

Fortunately, a solution may be at hand. I am sponsoring a bill in the Senate SB 1284 (the House counterpart is HB 119) with Sen. Victor Crist (Email), R-Tampa, and Rep. Rich Glorioso (Contact), R-Plant City, to create more consistent residency restrictions throughout our state.

Backed by law enforcement, prosecutors and child safety advocates, the bill would lessen the confusion caused by 149 different ordinances, and will eliminate the homeless sex offender problem that endangers public safety. The new law would be tougher than local ordinances because it creates new 24-hour-a-day "child protection zones" that prevent offenders from loitering 300 feet from schools, parks, libraries, bus stops and other places where children congregate.

Iowa was one of the first states to pass a law to restrict where registered sex offenders could live — and it was also the first state to repeal these laws altogether. After passing what was considered the "toughest" statewide law in the country, that state witnessed a dangerous rise in absconders.

In fact, Iowa's residency restrictions were blamed for a doubling of the number of sex offenders who could not be located since the law took effect. These sex offenders did not report that they were leaving the state; rather, they just stopped reporting at all. In response, Iowa law enforcement officials recently convinced legislators to repeal its residency restrictions and replace them with 24-hour-a-day child protection zones.

My co-sponsors and I believe that reasonable residency restrictions, combined with 24-hour-a-day child protection zones, will keep our neighborhoods safer than the multitude of conflicting, confusing local rules that only restrict a sex offender's movement at night. Although billed as tough, our current laws are actually weak and have undermined public safety by creating a startling rise in sex offenders who are homeless or who have disappeared among us.

The families of Broadview Park know all too well that our current laws on released sex offenders have backfired. Unless the Legislature acts now to protect public safety, a bad situation will only get worse.

Dave Aronberg (Email) represents Palm Beach, Lee, Glades, Charlotte and Hendry counties in the Florida Senate.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin